Strange Things As Food & Drink

rynner2

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Horrified by live octopus? This might be more to your taste:

Let Them Eat Petals: Why British tables are blooming
The nation's vegetable aisles are suddenly bright with edible flowers. Terri Judd reports
Saturday, 16 April 2011

For years the preserve of artistically flamboyant chefs, edible flowers are now blooming in the nation's vegetable aisles. As of this month, discerning domestic chefs can add nasturtiums to their bangers and mash or violas to their vanilla ice cream.

Responding to an increasing trend, Waitrose will now be selling edible flowers at their salad counters, while the home-improvement chain B&Q is promoting growing kits.

Eating flowers is certainly not a modern affectation: the Romans and Victorians were fans. But in the 20th century, blooms were confined to the dinner centrepiece rather than the cooking pot.

"Flowers have been so ignored and people have become afraid of them but they are just normal and natural to add. They are amazing and can add a flavour of spices or peppers," said chef Silvena Rowe, a devotee who will be including flowers among many of her recipes when the restaurant Quince at the May Fair opens in June. It will include dishes such as Orange and Orange Blossom Baklava, a 16th-century favourite of Roxelane, a harem girl who married Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.

"Flowers are like a splash of Viagra in the dish. They are not just visual but they add an injection of flavour," Ms Rowe said. "Eastern Mediterranean cuisine is the cuisine of queens. It is not just food for the stomach. It is visual, a feast for all the senses.

"I have a dish of roasted king prawns on pomegranate butter with anise flowers. They lie like water lilies in a purple pool of pomegranate butter. They not only add a delicate flavour of aniseed to the sweet and sour, velvety butter but the visual yellow on the deep purple satisfies your whole existence." For the uninitiated, Ms Rowe recommended trying the flowers of herbs such as chives, thyme, rosemary and wild garlic, severed from supermarket products but ideal to flavour a salad.

But before tucking into a daffodil or sweet pea from the garden, be warned that they, like many pretty plants, are poisonous.
"Just make sure they are edible ones. Most roses are edible as long as they have not been sprayed," said Ms Rowe
, who wrote Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume, a book full of recipes using flowers.

When delving into this new culinary world, experts are adamant that you should only cook flowers when you are sure they are not toxic, have not been grown with pesticides and have all the pistils and stamens removed.

B&Q insisted that many people are turning to growing their own, with sales of kits of products such as its edible pansy and nasturtium growing kits up nearly 25 per cent year on year. The chain's horticulture trading manager, Steve Guy, said: "We are making it easier for our customers to re-create 'masterchef' dishes."

And 180 Waitrose stores will be selling pots of viola and nasturtium blooms grown in Evesham, Worcestershire. Rhonwen Cunningham, a buyer for the supermarket, said: "Violas have a very mild flavour whilst the yellow nasturtiums taste slightly peppery. Edible flowers were a popular food a few hundred years ago and we're now seeing a renewed interest in eating these traditional English garden ingredients."

etc..

http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 68626.html
 

Kondoru

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you could try fritters made from roses, elderflowers or primroses
 

OneWingedBird

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I still haven't got the knack of chrysanthanum tea.

Delicious when I get it in a jap restaurant, always ends up bitter when I make it myself. Unless it's allowd to stew a bit, in which case it both looks and tastes like pee.
 

rynner2

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Snails slither into cookbooks as 'white caviar' captures imagination
Spanish snails are being farmed for an unusual luxury ingredient, as Harriet Alexander reports.
By Harriet Alexander, Caldes de Montbui, Barcelona 7:00AM BST 01 May 2011

Joan Trobalon is proud of his small patch of land in the hills above Barcelona, where lovingly-tended fruit trees and strawberry plants sit alongside lettuces, tomatoes and peppers. But his is no ordinary Spanish finca.

Pushing open the door of a large, plastic-framed barn, Mr Trobalon shows off the surprising jewel in his farming crown: pens full of slithering snails.

The animals – 6,000 of them – are kept to feed the latest gastronomic trend sweeping Europe: "white caviar", or snails' eggs. A kilo of the pearl-like eggs retails for €1,800 (£1,600), and Mr Trobalon, a former pest control expert, admits surprise that he has gone from killing snails to actively cultivating them.
"It's funny how things turn around," he said. "I used to sell 80 tonnes of chemicals a year to kill snails. And now I'm rearing them."

Chefs throughout Spain and Europe are rediscovering the highly-prized delicacy, which centuries ago starred in banquets for wealthy Romans, Egyptians and Greeks. The tiny eggs, which taste slightly earthy and are recommended marinated in herbs, are also known as "Pearls of Aphrodite" for their supposed aphrodisiac quality.

Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, whose restaurant El Bulli was famed for its innovative menu, has experimented widely with recipes using the eggs. Harrods has begun selling small tins of the product, unofficially known as "white caviar" (producers of traditional black caviar, from sturgeon, dispute the new term).

And Spanish businessman Blas Hervías is pioneering the trend in Spain, becoming the first Spaniard to be licensed to sell the product and contracting three specialist farmers – including Mr Trobalon – to provide the eggs.
"I had read lots about snails, but became curious about the eggs and spent a fortune investigating them," he said. "It is a highly unusual product and made in a labour-intensive way. It takes four hours to fill a 50 gram tin, as each tiny egg is selected by hand using tweezers. :shock:
"It's a luxury product for special occasions."

This month Mr Hervías took his products for the first time to the gastronomic fair in Cadiz, where he revealed plans for "white caviar" pate made with Pedro Ximenez sherry or cava, and discussed experiments including freezing the eggs in liquid nitrogen.
"At first people would dismiss the product without tasting it," he said. "But once they got over their initial fear, they were fascinated by the idea."

His company, Blanc Gastronomy, sold 500 kgs last year – its first year of production – and this year he aims to sell more than 800 kgs, plus the new pates and mousses.

And Mr Trobalon, on his three acres in Caldes de Montbui, 20 miles inland from Barcelona, has his fingers crossed that the demand will grow.
Driving towards his smallholding along a sandy track, lined with wild irises and poppies and with views down to the sea, Mr Trobalon, 71, explained how he first became interested in rearing snails after hearing about French producers – the real pioneers of snail farming.

"It's a labour of love," he said, of the 50kgs of snails' eggs he harvests each year. "It is still a niche market, but we hope it will grow and grow. People are beginning to talk about it, and we are ready for the surge in demand."

After four years of experimenting, Mr Trobalon has found that his snails thrive on a diet of grains and green leaves, and are best kept in small pens, raised off the ground and filled with small tubs of earth, with electric wire around the top to stop them escaping. Every spring and autumn each snail will burrow into the soil to lay around three grams of eggs - between 80 and 100 individual pearls.

When The Sunday Telegraph visited last week, the first eggs of the year were being collected. The tubs are lifted from the pens and the eggs painstakingly removed, washed and purified before being sent to Mr Hervías by refrigerated courier to be sterilised, lightly salted and then tinned.

The snails themselves may then be sold for meat, but unlike the rest of Spain's 100-odd snail producers, this is not Mr Trobalon's priority.

Josep Marcelo, president of the National Association for Cultivating and Rearing Snails (ANCEC), said: "It's great that people are rediscovering snails, and especially their eggs. Some people call them 'Oysters of the earth'. They're surprised that something so basic can be used in such an original way."

But he warned: "There is not a huge demand yet. The eggs themselves have an earthy taste, and need marinating in something strong to give them flavour. It's not going to be the answer to all farmers' prayers and the meat is still a much more profitable long-term market."

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ation.html

Something else to appeal to the "Oi'm considerably richer than yow!" brigade! ;)
 

OneWingedBird

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Why is it that all of the uber delicacies are hard to come by, extortionate, supposedly aphrodesiac and taste of nothing? I think i'd rather have fish and chips :lol:

btw if anyone is curious, here's my attempt at cooking the pig uterus:

Fried Pig Uterus

I'm amazed I managed that one as I really am quite sequeemish, and as soon as you start cooking it, it gets all gross and coily :shock: the smell is also quite abominable.

Managed to eat one little piece and it isn't good. Texture is like a bit of inner tube but more visceral, flavour once you get past the hoi-sin sauce I drenched it in is bitter and a bit ammonical.
 

Mythopoeika

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The only innards I ever eat are liver, kidney and (occasionally) heart. The rest is just waste.
 

AsamiYamazaki

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I never eat offal - bleauch.

Not a fan of eating flowers either, although I did make deep fried stuffed courgette flowers once which were actually quite nice.
 

ramonmercado

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AsamiYamazaki said:
I never eat offal - bleauch.

Not a fan of eating flowers either, although I did make deep fried stuffed courgette flowers once which were actually quite nice.
Lambs liver with bacon & onions is really nice. Also grilled lamb kidneys for brekkers and of course in steak & kidney pies.
 

Cultjunky

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I used to live with a veggie, and kept a 'dirty meat' drawer in the freezer full of black pudding, kidney, liver, sausage...I'm starving now :lol:
 

rynner2

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New York artist creates cheese made from breast milk
A New York gallery is offering adventurous eaters the opportunity to sample cheese made from human breast milk.
7:00AM BST 02 May 2011

The Lady Cheese Shop is a temporary art installation by Miriam Simun, a graduate student at New York University who hopes to use the craft of cheese-making to raise questions about the ethics of modern biotechnologies.
"Cheese is the conversation starter," Ms Simun said. "Some people are loving it, and some people are gagging."

Ms Simun found three nursing women willing to have their milk turned into cheese. She screened the milk for diseases, pasteurized it and learned the basics of cheese-making.

Three varieties were available on Sunday - West Side Funk, Midtown Smoke, described as "creamy and just pure heaven," and Wisconsin Chew, the taste of which apparently reflected the vegetable-filled diet of the woman who provided its milk.

Jocelyn James, of Manhattan, who works with expectant mothers, declared her favorite was Midtown Smoke, which she said was mild. She described Wisconsin Chew as bland.
"It's a lot healthier than cow's milk, which can be very suspicious," she said, although she conceded: "It does have a stigma."

Frances Anderson sampled the cheese while breast-feeding her infant son Luan.
"I'm an adventurous eater," she said. "I know more about the source of this food than going into a supermarket and picking up Cheddar cheese. I don't know what they pumped into that cow."

Ms Simun said she hoped her cheese will make people think about the various ways human bodies are used as "factories," producing blood, hair, sperm, eggs and organs that can all be harvested to be used by others.

...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... -milk.html
 

Kondoru

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I had some `Queens` on holiday (small scallops)

they are soft and not at all chewy, as you expect shellfish to be.

I may become a convert to molluscs.
 

Spudrick68

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I accidently eat horse in Belgium, it was OK but a bit bland for me. Tried caviar and disliked it intensely. We mjay be going to China for a month at some point over the next couple of years, I will see how adventurous I will be.
 

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I may already have mentioned this.

Some years ago I was at a party with a buffet and I picked up what looked like a scotch egg (I don't like scotch eggs - but there was bugger all else left). Anyway, it wasn't a scotch egg.

Well, it kind of was: breadcrumbs, sausage meat - that kind of thing. But no egg. No, someone had decided it would taste much nicer with something else in the middle: a kiwi fruit.

What on EARTH was going through their minds?
 

Mythopoeika

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Spookdaddy said:
I may already have mentioned this.

Some years ago I was at a party with a buffet and I picked up what looked like a scotch egg (I don't like scotch eggs - but there was bugger all else left). Anyway, it wasn't a scotch egg.

Well, it kind of was: breadcrumbs, sausage meat - that kind of thing. But no egg. No, someone had decided it would taste much nicer with something else in the middle: a kiwi fruit.

What on EARTH was going through their minds?
So... was it nice? Or just a very bad idea? :)
 

Spookdaddy

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Mythopoeika said:
So... was it nice? Or just a very bad idea? :)
Horrible. And that's speaking as someone who will eat anything (apart from kiwi fruit wrapped in sausage meat, obviously).
 

beakboo

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Spudrick68 said:
I accidently eat horse in Belgium, it was OK but a bit bland for me. Tried caviar and disliked it intensely. We mjay be going to China for a month at some point over the next couple of years, I will see how adventurous I will be.
You were unlucky with the horse, in my experience it is usually very tasty, very like beef, but more tender.
 

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I've eaten guinea pig in Peru, a bit like rabbit, but not a great deal of meat on them.
 

ramonmercado

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Timble2 said:
I've eaten guinea pig in Peru, a bit like rabbit, but not a great deal of meat on them.
There are giant guinea pigs in Argentina, herds of them galloping along the Pampas on the lookout for scientists to trample.
 

linesmachine

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I've had Guinea Pig and it was fine, even though I was told it's awful.

In Colombia a group of us once had "An introduction to the pig" which was basically a small cooked pig, served on it's back with all it's guts and bits and bobs cooked and replaced roughly where they should be and then labelled (in Spanish). So there was brain and testicles and penis and heart and lung and what not. It was very good.

The weirdest food related experience I ever had was in the UK when I went out to a Curry House with some Uni mates. Not being a Curry aficionado I asked what sort of meat was in the Meat Madras, I was guessing it would be lamb or goat or something. The waiter just shook his head and said "meat!" After a little more probing the language barrier proved too much and he beckoned me toward the kitchen. Upon entering I was impressed; the chefs were throwing all kinda ingredients around and the place looked very clean. The waiter led me to a shelf that was sticked high with large tins. The label on the tin had one word. It said "Meat". The waiter shrugged his shoulders. It was an excellent curry!
 

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...and that's how you became an accidental cannibal!
 

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Good job you didn;t ask for the 'special stuff' :lol:
 

AsamiYamazaki

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Local restaurant in Toronto does Quack and Track which is duck and horse. Allegedly the horses are free range from Quebec but, bearing in mind the dish doesn't appear on the official menu, I've also heard that there are no horses farmed for consumption in Canada which probably means they're old knackered nags full of drugs who aren't meant to be eaten.

That said, it tasted delightful.
 

Mythopoeika

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linesmachine said:
I've had Guinea Pig and it was fine, even though I was told it's awful.

In Colombia a group of us once had "An introduction to the pig" which was basically a small cooked pig, served on it's back with all it's guts and bits and bobs cooked and replaced roughly where they should be and then labelled (in Spanish). So there was brain and testicles and penis and heart and lung and what not. It was very good.

The weirdest food related experience I ever had was in the UK when I went out to a Curry House with some Uni mates. Not being a Curry aficionado I asked what sort of meat was in the Meat Madras, I was guessing it would be lamb or goat or something. The waiter just shook his head and said "meat!" After a little more probing the language barrier proved too much and he beckoned me toward the kitchen. Upon entering I was impressed; the chefs were throwing all kinda ingredients around and the place looked very clean. The waiter led me to a shelf that was sticked high with large tins. The label on the tin had one word. It said "Meat". The waiter shrugged his shoulders. It was an excellent curry!
Yeah, I've laughed about this a few times.
I've been in places and used delivery services that had 'meat curry' on the menu.
I think it's quite widespread.
I reckon it might be so no religious people are offended by the type of meat that is used. By vaguely calling it 'meat' you can avoid the 'unclean animal' label.
 

rynner2

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'Strange' is in the eye of the beholder:

Unadventurous Britain: How one in five adults has never eaten an olive
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:42 AM on 18th May 2011

From the array of exotic food available at most supermarkets, you might think Britons are adventurous eaters.
Not so, according to a study.
It found 68 per cent of adults would refuse to try some foods, such as liver, sprouts and sushi – even if it was bought, prepared and served to them free.

A third have never tried mussels or sea bass, 45 per cent have never eaten goat’s cheese and one adult in five has never consumed an olive, asparagus or aubergine.
More than half of adults (53 per cent) say they have no desire to try new foods and 40 per cent do not encourage their children to experiment.

The study, by the goat’s cheese maker Capricorn, found that while many youngsters have never eaten sardines (25 per cent) or avocado (33 per cent), 75 per cent had tried chips by the age of two and half had tucked into a curry by six.

Psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson suggested that this showed parents were ‘imposing their own preconceptions on to their children’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1MgxMnvzh
 

OneWingedBird

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Avoiding liver was pretty hard when I was at school? I take it liver & onions is off the menu these days.
 

rynner2

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BlackRiverFalls said:
Avoiding liver was pretty hard when I was at school? I take it liver & onions is off the menu these days.
Just the thought of liver and onions has me salivating!

Right, that's today's dinner decided! :D
 

linesmachine

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rynner2 said:
BlackRiverFalls said:
Avoiding liver was pretty hard when I was at school? I take it liver & onions is off the menu these days.
Just the thought of liver and onions has me salivating!

Right, that's today's dinner decided! :D
Me too, it's a cracking dish! I like to fry it with bacon, shallots and a little olive oil and serve it with cous cous and salad....nice, but it's just as good in the old fashioned way with smash and peas.
 

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linesmachine said:
rynner2 said:
BlackRiverFalls said:
Avoiding liver was pretty hard when I was at school? I take it liver & onions is off the menu these days.
Just the thought of liver and onions has me salivating!

Right, that's today's dinner decided! :D
Me too, it's a cracking dish! I like to fry it with bacon, shallots and a little olive oil and serve it with cous cous and salad....nice, but it's just as good in the old fashioned way with smash and peas.
Sounds heavenly! :D
 

Mythopoeika

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I've eaten pretty much all the items mentioned in the DM article apart from Mussels.
I have decided to avoid such things, because so many people get food poisoning if it isn't fresh or cooked properly, and also because (be honest) the shells are a hassle and the contents look like snot.
 

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Mussels are a great treat but I am suspicious of any pre-cooked ones or those bought dead. Tinned are generally safe and the smoked ones are a great store-cupboard stand-by.

To enjoy mussels properly they need to be bought live - either in a net in a good fish-market or in a sealed polythene container in the supermarket. It may take a while to scrape off the chalky barnacles and beards. Tap the shells with the knife and any that are slightly ajar should close tightly to show they are alive. Discard any that stay open or gape vacantly.

While you are scraping the barnacles, prepare a fritata in a big saucepan: olive oil, garlic, a couple of tomatoes and a stick of celery, shallot or onion. Let this sweat and uncork a bottle of Cava. When your mussels are tidy, throw them into the pan with a glass of Cava. Hold down the lid and shake them around for a minute or two, no longer or they'll toughen.

The mussels should now have opened. Any which haven't should be discarded. This double-sifting more or less ensures you don't get a bad'un. It's one of the best dishes in the world and the stock is heavenly. Allow loads per person as most of the weight is in the shells.

My only really bad do with a mussel was in Portugal last year. Two days lost out of five in Lisbon. The horrible thing was that I knew as soon as I bit into it: spitting it out was too late evidently! :cross eye
 
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