You don’t have to be Elon Musk to know that technology is taking over in even the most long-standing aspects of our life. From YouTube tutorials to 3D printing, 2016… View Article
You don’t have to be Elon Musk to know that technology is taking over in even the most long-standing aspects of our life. From YouTube tutorials to 3D printing, 2016 has been saturated with some of the most superlative advancements that have ever graced gastronomy. But, just like the proverb for getting the tube in rush-hour goes, no matter how jam-packed it is, there’s always room for one more. And it seems the technological Che Guevara of tomorrow’s food will be a lot more sophisticated than a spiralizer...
Picture this: You’re in the supermarket standing by the meat, but before you select which brand of chicken breasts to buy, you scan their barcode with your iPhone to find out their backstory: which town they came from, what they were fed and what were their living conditions like. A bit like a LinkedIn for the food scene, each product’s unique number will be able to show you an array of information and then a few days later, the same system could alert you that your carefully selected chicken breasts are about to go out of date.
Unlike their QVC counterparts, the technological advancement of being able to track products will no doubt also open the door to a whole new league of opportunities and have long-lasting implications on the culinary landscape. In terms of consumer benefits, tracking products could be integrated into apps that could inform you if there was a batch recall or allow you to find out more about the farmer’s production methods. And as well as being a great tool to let producers and retailers connect with their end consumers, traceable data could also mean that health officials can sign in to the system and access crucial data such as HACCP records.
At the moment, most food traceability is only done in bulk and isn’t easily obtainable to the standard consumer. But by opening up data on each step of the production chain, companies will have the ability to track products, which they can then make available to consumers at item-level. The Open Data Institute advocates the importance of data and making it accessible, championing the huge impact open data has on society as well as its ability to bring food traceability straight to customer’s fingertips.
In a society where provenance is becoming even more important to consumers, product tracing will allow people to see exactly where their food comes from. As well as the undeniable food safety benefits product traceability would offer, there is also an abundance of marketing perks. Apps associated with product tracing can collect feedback from shoppers, connect with them via social media, promote their product and offer discounts. But the perhaps the biggest marketing benefit opening up the data would have, would be the total transparency between brand and consumer, attributing the compliant companies with the best characteristic of them all: honesty.
In the digital age of 2016, every citizen with a smartphone is a potential reporter. Data constantly sloshes around the world in vast quantities, meaning that if a brand has good ethics, their morals will be noticed and praised, but if they’re hiding dirty secrets behind spoon-fed corporate advertising, it’s only a matter of time before it all gets out.
The consumer demand for both honesty and smart packaging is certainly there - and soaring full speed ahead - but now it just needs to be made a reality. Because after all, truth is the only sustainable strategy, and making all data transparent is the first step towards demystifying the shelves.
Unlike limoncello’s shop-bought equivalent which we associate with that hideously full post-Christmas dinner feeling and raiding our parents alcohol cupboard during our teenage years, proper Italian limoncello is served after… View Article
Unlike limoncello's shop-bought equivalent which we associate with that hideously full post-Christmas dinner feeling and raiding our parents alcohol cupboard during our teenage years, proper Italian limoncello is served after a meal as it supposedly helps digest your food. In that case, we'll have another glass...
In the winter we drank it among our festive feasts, but now summer is here, we can fully embrace the Southern Italian sun behind everyone's secret favourite tipple. In Sicily and along the Amalfi coast, lemons grow particularly abundantly and every native appears to have their own personal recipe for limoncello. So why not try embracing your inner Italian and get zesting...
Friuli Venezia Giulia (Free-oolee Ve-ne-tsyah Joo-lyeeah) doesn’t feel quite as Italian as other regions – more European, closer in style to Vienna than Rome. It’s a small, contrasting place and… View Article
Friuli Venezia Giulia (Free-oolee Ve-ne-tsyah Joo-lyeeah) doesn’t feel quite as Italian as other regions - more European, closer in style to Vienna than Rome. It’s a small, contrasting place and as such, it's one of the least visited areas of Italy.
The region was traded back and forth between Venice, Austria and Napoleonic France over the years, and has a climate that changes as quickly as the accent, or the ever changing landscape around you; from the towering Julian Alps, to golden sandy beaches, and vivid turquoise lagoons where white stone churches peak out from dense pine forests.Even its cities are wildly different. Stately and striking Trieste, the region's capital, feels almost Eastern European, whilst smaller, quieter Udine, with its canals and grand piazza, has the feel of a more laid-back Venice. It’s a place that reveres bespoke local craftsmanship, creating a culture of small workshops and family run studios; from the knives of Maniago, so sharp they could slice through dreams, to the unbearably delicious ham of San Daniele - hung to absorb crisp mountain air. Its cuisine meanwhile will make you reconsider all your preconceptions of Italian food; stews, boiled pork, filling soups, all with a distinctly Austrian touch - sauerkraut, goulash, dumplings and strudel.
When it comes to wine, the region’s towering superstar is Tocai Friulano, a drink locked for many years in a battle over its name with the idolised Hungarian wine Tocaj. Despite no similarity except for four rather inconvenient letters, the EU finally sided with Hungary, and Tocai became simply Friulano, meaning 'of Friuli', which somehow seems more apt considering how beloved it is within this region. Whatever the name, the end result is magnificent; pale dandelion with a seductive hint of meadow green and flavours of sweet almond, thyme and gooseberry, like walking through your grandmother’s kitchen, all wrapped in a wine that’s dry, fragrant and absorbing.
What is actually similar to Tocaj is the region's DOCG Picolit, a thick, amber-gold dessert wine with flavours of ginger, apricot and orange blossom. Yielding few berries, with up to half lost in a single harvest, it is toe curlingly expensive, especially when combined with the craftsmanship involved in its production, but is without doubt one of the best sweet wines around - a taste of raw honeycomb still buzzing with bees, rather than a simple hit of sugar. Other must-try whites are the perfumed and floral Malvasia, possessing just an edge of Chanel smelt at the wrist, gloriously tannic Verduzzo, and dry Ribolla Gialla, an acidic, citrus and apricot noted wine with just a touch of pepper.
Despite being known for its white, the region also produces some lovely reds, in particular Schioppettino, meaning gunshot, another wine nearly lost and reduced to just a few hundred vines before making an astonishing comeback. With its thick, briar flavours of blackcurrant and plum, high acidity and tannins as soft as a baby's kiss, it’s a gentle wine, ideal for meat and game. Tazzelenghe meanwhile, meaning tongue cutter, is certainly tangy and fruity enough to live up to its name, with an elusive, almost seductive aroma of violet. Refosco, on the other hand, a cherry and blueberry driven wine, possesses aromas of lavender that vanish as quickly as you sense them. For those with ample restraint or who do not fear the potential hangover, Friulian Grappa is a must try, as is Slivovitz Friuliana, the region's intense and delicious plum brandy.
Friuli Venezia Giulia is different, unworldly so at times, particularly around dinnertime when the wine is cold and the strudel hot, but it’s a special kind of difference, and one that contrives to make it unforgettable.
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Size: 7,858 Square kilometres (17/20)
Population: 1,227,625 (14/20)
Approx area under vine: 18,704 hectares (14/20)
Primary grapes: Friulano, Picolit, Refosca, Schioppetino
Other Notable Grapes: Pignola, Tazzelenghe, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo, Vitovska DOCG: 3 DOC: 11 IGT: 3
Trivia: Trieste is the centre of the world trade in coffee
by Dan Miles
Dan Miles – Formerly an award winning bartender, Dan Miles is the cult bestselling author of
Filthy Still – a tale of travel, sex and perfectly made cocktails.
All of us love to eat, right?! Therefore, we hold food and those that prepare it for us close to our hearts. Hello, I’m Amy Rossi and my goal is… View Article
All of us love to eat, right?! Therefore, we hold food and those that prepare it for us close to our hearts. Hello, I'm Amy Rossi and my goal is to inspire people on how eating plant-based foods in your diet can be satisfying, fulfilling and nourish you mentally and physically all by using real, whole food ingredients. I love to experiment and play in the kitchen and I intend to provide recipes and techniques for the foods that promote health and vitality. I didn’t come from a family of chefs or photographers or any sort of food or photography background, so everything you see on this blog is a result of hard work, passion and self-taught skill. I have been teaching myself how to create plant-based recipes and then photographing my creations. It’s definitely been an adventure but I love it! I shifted my diet to plant-based in 2013 after learning more about the nutrition side of food, animal cruelty and the environmental impacts of factory farming. Thank you for letting me share with you healthy, animal-product free recipes that will keep yourself and your families enthused about tasty good-for-you food. Come say hello on Instagram! You can find me under the_blossoming_vegan. Now, lets get cooking!
Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 45 minutes
- ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 10 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 2 12 oz. firm tofu, drained
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 jar of puttanesca sauce (or make your own using tinned tomatoes and garlic)
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cashew mozzarella vegan cheese for topping (optional)
- Fresh herbs: rosemary (optional)
Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius. Heat the vegetable broth in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic in the broth 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Add spinach and cook 3 minutes or until wilted. Transfer the spinach, onion and garlic to a blender or food processor. Add tofu, dried herbs, basil and nutritional yeast. Puree the mixture until it is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Boil a large pot of water over medium-high heat. Place the 12 lasagna noodles in the water and cook for about 5 minutes according to packet instructions. Bare in mind that they will continue to cook in the oven - you don’t want them to be too mushy! Once they are partially cooked, drain the hot water through a colander, rinse noodles with cold water and place them onto a damp baking sheet. The baking sheet should be dampened with water so the noodles don’t stick. You can also use olive oil. To avoid extra fat in the recipe I used water to keep everything from sticking and ripping. Set noodles aside.
Spread ½ cup (or a little more if needed) of your chosen liquid on the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch baking dish. Next, cover with 4-5 partially cooked lasagna noodles, part of the tofu filling, and then another layer of sauce. Repeat this process. Noodles, tofu filling sauce, etc until you've filled the dish, but finish the final layer with just the noodles and the sauce. If you would like cheese you can top it off with some vegan mozzarella cheese.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes until it is bubbling hot. Uncover, and bake another 10-15 minutes if you want the sauce or cheese to be a little browned and melted. Remove from oven and let it rest about 15 minutes before serving and cutting into it. This ensures the layers meld together, so when you go to cut into it, it doesn’t all fall apart. This dish is also really good the next day. The flavours have had time to sit overnight and marry each other, so to speak. Happy cooking friends!
Pasta doesn’t always have to be hot and in the summer it’s great to enjoy your favourite classic pasta cold. Rather than mixed with a hearty cream sauce, salmon in… View Article
Pasta doesn’t always have to be hot and in the summer it's great to enjoy your favourite classic pasta cold. Rather than mixed with a hearty cream sauce, salmon in the summer should be fresh, simple, easy salmon pasta salad with rocket and tomatoes, ideal to be carried to the beach, work or park.
This recipe comes from Veruska, an Italian living in Dublin, Ireland. As a food blogger and food writer on La Cuochina Sopraffina, her recipes are mainly Italian, but also include advice about Italy, its food, its wine and tips on how to cook like a native Italian. She shares her culinary tips and her motto is food that's easy and simple: have fun and be happy!
Preparation time: 20 minutes + cooling time
1. Always use pasta of a good quality because it won’t overcook (See our selection of high-quality pasta for sale at the Bellavita Shop).
2. Add your seasoning and all your ingredients only after the pasta has been into the fridge for at least 30 minutes so it’s ready to absorb everything and all the excess of water has gone.
- 320g of pasta
- 300g salmon
- 3 lemons
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- 200g black pitted olives
- 90g rocket
- a handful of chia seeds
- A pinch of salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
1. Brush the salmon with the juice of 2 lemons, season with salt and pepper and place it in a pan for about 10 minutes, turning it occasionally. Transfer the salmon to a serving bowl, crumble it into small chunks and let it cool.
2. Cook the pasta in salted water following packet instructions. While it's cooking, chop the tomatoes and rocket and season well with salt, oil and pepper.
3. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and place in a pan lined with oven paper to let it cool down at a room temperature. Once cool, put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Add the salmon, rocket and tomatoes and season to taste then refrigerate again until 30 minutes before serving, when it should then be garnished with a little lemon juice and the chia seeds.
This recipe comes from Amisha, a big advocate of healthy, nourishing food that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but is particularly fond of vegetarian cooking and baking. She… View Article
This recipe comes from Amisha, a big advocate of healthy, nourishing food that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but is particularly fond of vegetarian cooking and baking. She counts her mum as her constant source of inspiration, a woman who "believed in fresh food on the table for every meal, and I strive to do the same for my family". See more of her recipes and stories at The Jam Lab,
"With a crispy crust covered with flavour on the outside and a soft and spongy interior, who doesn't love focaccia! When we went to Italy on our honeymoon many years ago, the scene of these little shops lined with different kinds of focaccia was pure bliss! Huge rectangular slabs of bread, combined with flaky sea salt, olives and rosemary: that distinctive fresh bread smell was truly intoxicating, and the comforting scent of it when I cook it in my oven at home takes me right back to strolling through the little Italian streets lined with little focacceria's.
It's hard to pick my favourite flavour, and seeing as focacceria's can be a completely blank canvas, I have picked my favourite four variations to choose from, or like me, make little versions of them all."
Slices of lemon with zest and thyme
Grapes and chopped rosemary sprigs
Heirloom tomatoes with garlic and thyme
Olives, rosemary and pimento peppers
TIP: Patience is the key to any good bread along with the right room temperature. If you live in a cold place, you should keep the covered dough in the oven with the light on for it to rise well. The dough itself is very easy and is quick to make, but requires a lot of time for proving.
Makes 4 small focaccia loaves.
- 400ml warm water
- 320g white flour
- 260g whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- approx. 150ml extra virgin olive oil
For the toppings:
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- a few sprigs of thyme
- 1/2 lemon cut into thin slices
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- a handful of grapes (approx 10-15)
- a handful of olives (approx 10-15)
- 3-4 pimento peppers, thinly sliced
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4-5 tablespoons of good quality sea salt
1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Wait 10 minutes for the mixture to foam.
2. (If you have a stand up mixer with a paddle attachment it would be good to use here, but if not, just use a wooden spoon and your hands). In a bowl, mix the flours and salt to combine. Add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until a rough ball of dough forms, about 1 minute.
3. In a different, large bowl add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Put in the ball of dough and turn it so it is coated on all sides. Cover with cling film and a tea towel and place it in a warm place to prove until it's doubled in size - about 2 1/2 hours.
4. Once ready, grease four 6" cake tins with olive oil. Punch down the dough, and divide it equally into four parts, then push the dough into the cake tins. Using your fingertips, stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rest for about an hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 200°C. When the focaccias have puffed up in the pan a little, using your fingertips, make little holes all over the surface of the focaccia. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over each loaf and gently coat it, then add your toppings to each.
6. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top of each loaf and place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 190°C and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If it's not golden brown after 40 min, grill the top of the bread, but be sure to keep a close eye on it to make sure that it doesn't burn.
7. Once fully cooked and out the oven, use a spatula to remove the bread from each cake tin and place it on a cooling rack. Serve with extra virgin olive oil and another sprinkling of salt!
Which one's your favourite?