From hippies to haute cuisine: how pot food got a makeover (plus recipes)

Cannabis is becoming a cooking ingredient in its own right, as chefs create elaborate cannabis tasting menus at private dinners

For most Americans, eating marijuana has long been about function over flavor. Think of the dish that inevitably comes to mind: pot brownies. Less a delicious dessert than a discreet delivery mechanism for THC (the drug’s primary psychoactive ingredient), brownies can be smuggled to places where cannabis isn’t welcome. Chocolate, meanwhile, does an adequate job of disguising the plant’s taste – which is reminiscent of dandelion leaves growing from cracks in the sidewalk.

But with legalization and the attendant push to gentrify the drug, a small but vocal contingent have become champions of cannabis as a cooking ingredient in its own right. In cities where it’s legal, cannabis catering services now offer “elevated” dining experiences. On the new Netflix show Cooking on High, teams compete to make the most tempting ganja-infused dishes.

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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for piccalilli spiced rice

Transform the Indian-style classic from a relish to a hearty meal with bright-yellow rice and crisp vegetables

Piccalilli is the most strange and wonderful of British condiments. Its mere neon-yellow presence evokes a world of tea cakes, tennis whites and summers spent pickling allotment vegetables to the sound of the cricket on the radio. But it is also a reassuring reminder of the love affair between Britain and India (from where the recipe was inspired) that is still played out in our kitchens more than 400 years after it first started.

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for caraway seed cake

A rich treat studded with aniseed flavour and a drop of marsala

As a day girl, I was intrigued and terrified by the boarding houses at my senior school. I felt both envious of and sorry for my friends whose beds were at the top of the staircase above an office.

Envy triumphed at tea time. While two thirds of us stuffed text books and damp, smelly games kit into school bags, the boarding third, liberated from their green uniform and slouching in jeans and sweatshirts, were already in the dining room eating toast, cake and buns with a rug of white icing. Occasionally, a rehearsal or match meant we, too, could go into tea, pull a long bun from the tray of 25, hopefully with some of its neighbour’s icing. The buns were usually slightly underdone, as much dough as bread, which I loved, despite the mild indigestion. They not only filled you up, but acted as a sort of cork on hunger that lasted the entire match/rehearsal.

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How far can a £1.50 veg box go? Here’s how I made a meal for four – with cabbage to spare

Lidl is trialling a 5kg box of past-its-best fruit and veg, which could save up to 10,000 tonnes of food waste a year. One writer uses it to make a meal for four

The discount grocer Lidl has launched a pilot scheme to combat in-store food waste. In 122 shops across the country, the retailer’s self-titled freshness specialists – yes, really – are putting together 5kg boxes of fruit and veg that is no longer at its prime but still perfectly edible – on sale for only £1.50.

I picked one up from my local branch – they are in a crate positioned past the checkout point, but handily next to the charity boxes. The store opens at 8am. I arrived before 9am, and mine was the last box.

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How far can a £1.50 veg box go? Here’s how I made a meal for four – with cabbage to spare

Lidl is trialling a 5kg box of past-its-best fruit and veg, which could save up to 10,000 tonnes of food waste a year. One writer uses it to make a meal for four

The discount grocer Lidl has launched a pilot scheme to combat in-store food waste. In 122 shops across the country, the retailer’s self-titled freshness specialists – yes, really – are putting together 5kg boxes of fruit and veg that is no longer at its prime but still perfectly edible – on sale for only £1.50.

I picked one up from my local branch – they are in a crate positioned past the checkout point, but handily next to the charity boxes. The store opens at 8am. I arrived before 9am, and mine was the last box.

Continue reading…

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How far can a £1.50 veg box go? Here’s how I made a meal for four – with cabbage to spare

Lidl is trialling a 5kg box of past-its-best fruit and veg, which could save up to 10,000 tonnes of food waste a year. One writer uses it to make a meal for four

The discount grocer Lidl has launched a pilot scheme to combat in-store food waste. In 122 shops across the country, the retailer’s self-titled freshness specialists – yes, really – are putting together 5kg boxes of fruit and veg that is no longer at its prime but still perfectly edible – on sale for only £1.50.

I picked one up from my local branch – they are in a crate positioned past the checkout point, but handily next to the charity boxes. The store opens at 8am. I arrived before 9am, and mine was the last box.

Continue reading…

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Heatwave brings early harvest for German and French winemakers

Vintners in Germany weeks ahead of schedule and French vineyards expect good vintage

German and French vintners are harvesting their grapes weeks ahead of schedule following the heatwave that has affected much of Europe.

While many German farmers have complained that the hot and dry climate has damaged their crops, with yields of some, such as wheat, expected to be down by as much as 50%, vintners have seen reason to celebrate.

Related: Heatwave in Europe set to push up UK food prices

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Liam Charles’s recipe for knickerbocker glory cheesecake

This mashup of a bake has evolved from ice-cream van to dessert showstopper – and still has the sprinkles

Hop into my time machine. We are heading back 10 years – summer holidays, Stoke Newington, 2008 – I spent most of my time out with my pals, kicking ball, water fights … But when the clock struck four, Tony the ice-cream man came to our estate, and on a hot day it was the best thing – even if the ice-cream wasn’t the best. His knickerbocker glory, though … wow: super simple but so tasty. Big love to Tony for inspiring me for this bake. Vanilla, strawberries, retro decorations … what else could you ask for?

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Brigadiers, London: ‘You’ll smell of roasted spices, garlic and happiness’ – restaurant review

Save up and splash out – this is Indian cuisine at its sumptuous best

Brigadiers: 1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR (020 3319 8140). Meal for two, including drinks and service £70-£110

Some restaurants are the product of accident. Others feel like they are shaped in response to their environment. Brigadiers is very much the latter. A bunch of inputs has been evaluated. A checklist has been studied and completed, and then reshaped as somewhere good to eat. This is not much of a surprise, given that Brigadiers is the latest from the Sethi family’s company, JKS Restaurants, one of the slickest outfits in the business.

Lamb ribs are pelted with spices and left to loiter in a hot oven until they’ve started to fall apart

Priced for investment bankers looking for a crafty midweek meal which will repeat on them between trades the next day

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Nigel Slater’s grilled bavette recipe

No need to splash out on steak: cook up a bavettes feast

The bavette, that long, slender steak from the lower end of the belly, sounds less than promising. No rim of creamy-yellow fat to frame its flesh; no thick bone at its side to enrich it as it cooks; a piece of meat that is cut thinner than I usually prefer. And yet, briefly marinated with thyme, garlic and rosemary and cooked quickly on a hot griddle or over coals outdoors and left to rest before slicing, it has become my go-to steak this summer.

I bought my first piece a few years ago, more out of curiosity than anything else. Despite its lack of fat and bone, it tempted: the colour was the deepest maroon flecked with tiny nuggets of sweet fat and its deep, open grain intrigued. The price was a bargain compared to what I normally paid for steak. Cooked on a searingly hot cast iron griddle, the one I still use, the meat was ready in no time, then rested and sliced into thick pieces. I’ve never looked back.

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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for piccalilli spiced rice

Transform the Indian-style classic from a relish to a hearty meal with bright-yellow rice and crisp vegetables

Piccalilli is the most strange and wonderful of British condiments. Its mere neon-yellow presence evokes a world of tea cakes, tennis whites and summers spent pickling allotment vegetables to the sound of the cricket on the radio. But it is also a reassuring reminder of the love affair between Britain and India (from where the recipe was inspired) that is still played out in our kitchens more than 400 years after it first started.

Continue reading…

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