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  • Full Title: Food Science and Security
  • Autor: Lena Hirsch
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Nova Science Pub Inc; UK ed. edition
  • Publication Date: September 25, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606929771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606929773
  • Download File Format | Size: pdf | 5,23 Mb
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Food security is taken for granted in the industrialized world, where stable political and social structures ensure that everyone has access to safe and nutritious food sufficient to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. This important topic is the focus of this book.


Editorial Reviews




Breakfast & brunch

Small dishes

30-minute meals

Weekend lunch


Family feasts

Planning ahead

Friends for dinner


Best bits

The golden rules for wine & food

What’s in season

How to shop



W elcome to the Saturday Kitchen Cooking Bible ! In these pages you will find over 200 mouth-watering recipes from the last few years that have featured on the show.

I have been lucky enough to present Saturday Kitchen since 2006 and in that time I have shared the hobs with hundreds of great chefs and even managed to meet some of my all-time cooking heroes along the way. The dishes in this book will give you a good flavour of the kinds of dishes we have been able to share with the viewers and their style and content should allow you to understand the passion for cooking that all of us involved in the show feel.

A television show is never the work of just one man and I am merely the driver of a very well-oiled television machine. Behind the scenes there are lots of other people working hard to make the magic happen. From our incredible team of home economists, to the camera operators all the way to our egg-pun obsessed production staff. We are a team and it is an honour and a privilege to work amongst such dedicated people.

There have been so many highlights on the show but my birthday programme comes pretty close to perfection. Cooking with Alain Roux, Nathan Outlaw and Marcus Wareing with their seven Michelin stars between them made for a spectacular morning, which even ended with a car-shaped cake fresh from the kitchen at The Waterside Inn. It doesn’t come any better than that!

The ethos of the show is simple: the food is the star. It is this mantra that has allowed us access to some of the greatest culinary talent on the planet. Each week we aim to cook the best possible food we can while always keeping the dishes accessible and attainable to all. This book is testament to that. The recipes in here can all be cooked at home and although some may require a little more planning than others, they all are worth the effort.

People assume that I don’t get nervous anymore on the show and generally that’s true but there are times when even I get the odd butterfly or two, especially if I am stood next to the likes of Thomas Keller, Pierre Koffmann, Alain Roux or his dad Michel Roux Sr. I have been a fan of Thomas Keller’s, in particular, since I was a student. His books and restaurants have provided me with so much inspiration over the years and when we finally convinced him to join us it was something very special indeed. I shall never forget the way he made his omelette and it has nothing to do with the fact that the show nearly crashed off the air because he took so long!

Getting up close to these great chefs is one of the best bits of the show and this book is packed full of top tips and techniques from lots of our Saturday Kitchen regulars. We have even asked everyone for their perfect five minute dessert! There are so many delicious things to try from so many top top chefs that it’s tricky to know where to begin, so just flick to any page and dive in.

This book is very much a team effort and just like the show it is a coming together of loads of ideas and recipes from the whole culinary world. By tucking into its pages and having a go, you too can join our merry band of food heroes and put a smile on your or someone else’s face when you sit down to the results.

Happy cooking!


W herever possible on Saturday Kitchen, we use free-range organic chicken and eggs, higher welfare fish and meat, and the freshest seasonal ingredients (see here ). You’ll find a fantastic variety of locally caught fish and seafood recipes in this book, from the great-tasting gurnard in Cass Tiscombe’s summer stew (see here ) to Gennaro Contaldo’s tagliatelle with mussels (see here ). As Rick Stein reminds us, ‘There are enough fish species caught around the coasts of Britain for us to eat a different kind every week of the year.’ And, of course, the more we experiment with new types of fish, the more sustainable our fish eating becomes.

When it comes to cooking meat, there’s something for every occasion, from Thomas Keller’s extraordinary roast chicken (see here ) to Michel Roux’s veal blanquette (see here ) and Tana Ramsay’s easy homemade sausages (see here ). Whatever you choose, make sure you buy the best meat you can afford, from a trusted source. As James Martin explains: ‘It helps to make friends with your butcher as it is he who decides where your meat comes from, how it was reared and slaughtered, how long it was hung for and what cuts to select: and all those things add up to good-quality meat.’

With beef especially you get what you pay for. British-reared breeds such as Aberdeen Angus, Longhorn and Hereford are considered to be among the best in the world. And wagyu be
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Vietnamese Pho Broth with Tofu

Fortune Cookies

Spicy “Fried” Spring Rolls with Sweet Tamarind Fondue

Thai Cucumber Salad

Metric Conversion Chart


The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.

—Zeno (335–264 BC)

Create—The first time I stepped into a raw food kitchen, I knew that I had discovered something magical. My senses had been on high alert as I remained deeply suspicious about uncooked food, and many years in professional kitchens had created a foundation of principles contrary to what I was about to experience. Yet I nearly became an instant convert, ready to forgo not only fire and heat but also the majority of ingredients that were the building blocks of my cuisine.

To this day, I still remain captivated by steaming pots of risotto, the hearty aromas of a wood-fired oven, and the intense flavor brought on by a long-simmering reduction. Yet nothing has ever captured my attention in a kitchen like the crisp smell of fresh ginger mingling with coriander and lime, as I entered that day. And nothing has held it like the explosive clean flavor of well-prepared raw organic foods.

My first year of preparing raw was somewhat challenging. Just as I was entering a phase of my career where the skills I had learned and experiences I had accumulated should have provided me with the tools I needed to cook at a higher, more mature level, I chose to discard everything and begin anew. Fortunately, it was a natural decision, taken not only for professional and creative reasons but also in light of my own personal preferences, which had begun to lean more and more toward a plant-based lifestyle. The choice led me to the most rewarding and creative experience of my life.

In the beginning, just as with traditional European-based cuisine, it was necessary to learn the basics. Instead of stocks and bases, searing and braising, I needed to experiment with Brazil nut milk and vegetable juice–based sauces and to focus on marinating and dehydrating as ways to intensify flavor. There were a few triumphs and many failures; but as I experimented more, dishes began to emerge that would open up a raw food world of unlimited potential. Over the next two years, I would begin to delineate two styles of raw food preparation: practical dishes that are faster to prepare at home or for a quick meal, and more elaborate dishes that require a bit more patience and effort. Those more elaborate dishes are largely what make raw food so remarkable. The health benefits and flavors of everyday raw food are incredible on many levels. As a chef, I am most inspired by the tastes, textures, and presentation of the more advanced recipes.

There is no denying that some of the best raw food dishes are downright challenging to prepare. Several steps may be involved, often beginning with “sprouting” nuts, seeds, or grains, and ending with as much as forty-eight hours of dehydration. Others may provide a bit more instant gratification. This book is written in honor of the more elaborate, but very worthwhile, recipes that challenge the cook and please the guest. The attention, persistence, and care that go into the recipes in this book deserve to be celebrated and enjoyed by those who are fortunate enough to eat them.

Share—In my earlier days with raw food, I often found myself shying away from preparing it for family and friends, instead finding a middle ground with perhaps vegetarian or vegan dishes. Over time, as my food evolved, I became more confident about people’s reaction to this incredible cuisine, and now I prepare it whenever I have the opportunity. Whether it be a simple raw lunch or an exquisite tasting menu, the impact and pleasures of raw food are, by and large, incomparable to other challengers.

No other culinary style offers the same vibrant, deep flavor without guilt or other effects that gourmet foods often have, such as a heavy feeling or fatigue. Raw food is the most colorful on the planet—it literally jumps off the plate! Raw is very modern, forgoing heavy sauces, dairy products, and breads, allowing each bite to pack maximum flavor. In every one of my raw dining experiences, I have found that the food ends up not only being enjoyed but also being used as a conversational piece, where guests marvel at their surprise to learn the food before them is composed of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, none of which have been cooked, canned, or processed in any way.

Some of the ideas are pretty “out there”—think Willy Wonka’s chocolate or Andy Warhol’s art factory, where unbounded creativity exists in an effort to pursue meaning and, in this case, the essence of raw food. My philosophy is guided by one stipulation: all of the culinary efforts shall be devoted to preparing the most advanced, flavorful, and realistic raw food anywhere. As long as my work considers those fundamental issues, I allow pre
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onym standing for the Live. Organic. Vegan. Experience., a business dedicated to encouraging others to do better for one other, the animals, and the planet.

Once upon a Lifetime

They say everything happens for a reason. In many ways, I believe this to be true. However, when it came to losing my little sister to cancer, the “reason” was less than clear and the importance of honoring life became the lesson.

We were a seemingly healthy family of six: my parents; my sisters, Kimberly and Michele; my brother, John; and me. We’d never heard of the term organic, and we didn’t know anyone who claimed to be a vegetarian. In other words, it was the basic American lifestyle. It all seemed normal at the time, but looking back on it now, I can see the role it may have played in my family’s health. We enjoyed everything the typical American family of the time enjoyed, from Happy Meals to TV dinners. The standard American diet (now known as “SAD”) was all we knew. Hamburgers, pizza, mac and cheese, soda, white rice, vegetables from a can, cooked meat, and pasteurized milk. At that time the addictive effects of many ingredients in these foods, such as high-fructose corn syrup, and allergies to wheat and dairy were not common knowledge. In fact, there was a time fructose was looked upon as a fruit-based sweetener and considered a healthier option. Then there was sugar on everything. If you had a grapefruit, you’d put sugar on it. If you had sugared cereal, you’d put sugar on it. We ate very little unprocessed food, and iceberg lettuce was about as raw as things got on our dinner table.

A shock hit my family’s reality when after a yearlong battle involving hospitals, chemo, and heartbreak, we lost Kimberly to cancer. She was two years younger than me, and through her passing, I sensed my mortality for the first time. As I looked at her in the open coffin, I tried to grasp the whole meaning of this tragedy, but at eight years old my heart simply swelled with a grief that I could not fully process. We all did our best to pick up the pieces and carry on, but I was forever changed. If it had happened to her, it could happen to us—any of us. A heavy weight for any mother, father, or child to bear. Yet this life journey ultimately spares no one, and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we can make greater use of all our moments. For me that realization was to have a direct influence on my life choices, leading to my explorations into vegetarianism, veganism, and raw foodism, and, ultimately, to the birth of Organic Avenue.

Flirting with Vegetarianism

“ I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect.”


I always loved animals, but it wasn’t until a fishing trip with my dad that I connected my love of animals with becoming a vegetarian. It was a perfect day. I caught a fish. But clarity came at the moment my father began to prepare the grill and the fish was lying on the table. At that moment something clicked inside. I was never going to eat fish again. I couldn’t.

“ I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.”


At first I became an ovo-lacto vegetarian, a type of vegetarian who eats no animal flesh but does consume eggs and animal by-products. Milk, cheese, eggs, and butter were still on the menu. I continued to educate myself, asked deeper questions, and learned to read labels. My friends and family would often comment that it was a multihour episode just to go grocery shopping with me. I found that meat by-products were in the weirdest places: Cheese is regularly made with rennet (from the stomach of animals), meaning many cheeses aren’t truly vegetarian, and common table sugar is often refined with animal bones. I learned a whole new way to navigate and select the foods that I felt were good for me—and the animals. I wanted to share my new devotion to this ideology that supported my growing belief that what I consumed mattered and that what I chose had a life-or-death consequence for another innocent being. I felt responsible. I took it upon myself to find out the truth behind the food and animal industry. The deeper I looked for answers, the more I was astounded, even scared! I discovered that torture was the effect of the choice of eating meat and environmental destruction was the consequence of raising the animals for food, and to me it didn’t add up. The more I looked, the more I learned, and the more I was encouraged by the promise of a plant-based diet. I felt the direct link between my food and where it came from; the implications it had on my health, my energy level, and my physical being; and the impact it had on the animals and the environment. I needed to lighten my impact. I needed to take responsibility for my actions. One step at a time.

* * *

* * *

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ket. The process is quick and easy, and it yields delicious results.

Pickled rhubarb stalks are a fun and unexpected addition to a cheese plate and add a delightful tang to roasted meats and veggies. Truth be told, our hands-down favorite way to use this versatile pickled treat is in cocktails. Try a stalk as a fanciful, flavorful swizzle stick for your next Bloody Mary.

* * *


4 large rhubarb stalks, cleaned and trimmed

2 teaspoons peppercorns

½ teaspoon cloves

3 dried bay leaves

2 dried chiles

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 cup organic sugar

½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Rinse the stalks thoroughly and cut them into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 8-cm) pieces or longer, depending on preference and jar size, and place in canning jars. Divide the spices and chiles evenly and add to the jars with the stalks.

In a small, nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from the heat. Using a funnel, pour the liquid mixture into the canning jars over the stalks. Close the lids immediately, let the jars cool, and place them in the refrigerator.

Allow the rhubarb to pickle for up to 48 hours before serving. Quick pickles last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


Papaver somniferum

* * *

The breadseed poppy is considered the baker’s flower because of its edible seeds. A key player in any garden, this prolific, colorful bloomer signals the arrival of spring. One glance of those gorgeous floppy, paper-thin blooms and striking seedpods, and you immediately understand their allure.

This poppy has a dark side due to its other common name (opium poppy) and the fact that every part of this plant is toxic except for the seeds. It’s perfectly legal to grow this poppy for ornamental and culinary use, but obviously should not be grown for any illicit reasons.


This annual poppy can be grown in all USDA zones, in full sun and with moderate water. Plant poppies in herb and cut-flower gardens. At 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm) tall, breadseed poppies are also perfect in large planting beds, where they provide a pop of color. Self-sowing and deer resistant, they convey a dreamy, carefree quality when mixed with ornamental grasses in a meadow-inspired design.

The seeds need light to germinate. When directly sowing, lightly press the seeds into the top inch of loosened soil rather than covering the seeds with soil.


As petals fade, large seedpods are revealed. Allow the poppy to complete its full life cycle on the stem, leaving the seedpod intact to mature and dry in the garden. Harvest seeds when the pods are dry and plump, and they rattle when gently shaken. Cut the poppies stem by stem, turning over each pod and pouring the seeds into a clean, dry jar. Dry seeds keeps for at least a year when stored in a sealed container.

A tasty addition to baked goods and salads, poppy seeds pair well with lemon in muffins and cakes. Use them to garnish pasta dishes and fruit salads. After harvesting the seeds, save the pods to use in dried flower arrangements or wreaths.


One of the best ways to use your harvest is also one of our favorites. This salad dressing pairs well with the delicate seasonal greens and herbs of spring.

* * *


1 small shallot

¼ cup champagne vinegar

1½ tablespoons poppy seeds (from 3 to 5 flowers)

½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

½ teaspoon ground mustard

½ cup good-quality olive oil

Peel and finely chop the shallot and place in a medium bowl. Add the vinegar, poppy seeds, salt, and ground mustard. Whisk to combine. Continue to whisk as you pour the olive oil into the bowl in a slow stream, until completely combined. Store refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.


Syringa vulgaris

* * *

With its sweet, distinct scent, lilac is the fragrance of spring. But did you know that it’s also edible? We love it so much that we recommend planting early-, mid-, and late-blooming varieties, which will give you four straight months of flowers and bountiful harvests.


Lilac is a perennial shrub that needs full sun and cold winter nights for successful blooming. Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7, the sturdy lilac can survive in temperatures as low as –40°F (–40°C)!

We tend to place lilacs in the landscape as supporting shrubs, and never in a starring role. This is because once the blooms have faded (in a few short, glorious weeks), the lilac is an unadorned plain green shrub. Plant them along a sunny fence or in a mixed perennial bed as a foundation planting. Lilacs are quite carefree as long as they have full sun, good drainage, fertile soil, and once-a-year
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t es so gut wie unmöglich, Quark aufzutreiben. Dass in diesem Buch trotzdem oft mal Quark angegeben ist, liegt daran, dass es für den deutschsprachigen Mark gestaltet wurde und dort gibt es ja glücklicherweise solch feine Sachen wie Quark und Schmand. In den USA ist es auch schwierig, guten Joghurt zu bekommen. Die Meisten kaufen irgend ein kommerziell aufgepumptes Produkt, das keine gute Rohware mehr ist und um die richtigen Milchsäurebakterien zu bekommen, schlucken sie Pillen auf Rezept. Das ist schon traurig, wie sich die Dinge manchmal so entwickeln und dass so viele Menschen sich von der normalen Nahrungszufuhr schon so weit entfernt haben.

Doch die Kanadier wissen durchaus noch was Quark ist, schließlich haben sie ja den französischen Teil Kanadas und da wird glücklicherweise die französische Küche noch immer geschätzt und somit ist „Fromage Blanc“ in Kanada noch eine Rohware, die dort ebenfalls erhältlich ist. Doch in den USA und auch in Großbritannien wird ein für die Region typischer „Cheese Cake“ meist mit Philadelphia zubereitet, egal, ob er nun roh oder gebacken serviert wird, und für das Eis gilt natürlich dasselbe. Die Leute haben das Branding der einen Käse-Marke schon so zu sich genommen, dass Viele gar nicht mehr wissen, wie der Käse wirklich heißt, sondern nur noch den Firmennamen kennen.



1 l Sahne

500 g Philadelphia (Frischkäse) oder Sahnequark

2 Eigelbe

1 Vanilleschote

½ l Milch

ca. 500 g Puderzucker

1 Toast-Waffel, in sehr kleine Stückchen geschnitten


1 kleine Waffel

6 – 8 Erdbeeren

geschlagene Sahne

Erdbeermarmelade oder Erdbeersauce



1 l Sahne steifschlagen. 2 Eigelbe vorsichtig untergeben. Zucker, Körner der Vanilleschote, Milch und Toast-Waffel hinzufügen. Gut verrühren und zum Schluss die Eiweiße vorsichtig unterheben. Einfrieren.


Für 1 Portion 3 – 4 Kugeln Eis in einen Eisbecher tun und mit Sahne, Erdbeeren, Erdbeermarmelade oder -sauce und mit 1 kleinen Waffel dekorieren.


Noch leckerer wird das Eis, wenn man ein paar Löffel gefriergetrocknete Erdbeerstückchen in die noch ungefrorene Eismasse tut.


Erdnuss-Eis mit Schokolade (Peanutbutter-Ice Cream with Chocolate)


1 Glas Erdnussbutter

½ l Yoghurt

1 Becher Schmand

½ – 1 Flasche Ahornsirup

4 EL Kakao


Alle Zutaten verrühren. Einfrieren.

Erdnuss-Eis mit gesalzenen Erdnüssen (Peanutbutter-Ice Cream with roasted, salted peanut-chunks)

Gesalzene Nüsse sind sicher nichts, was jeder auf Anhieb in sein Eis tun würde, doch hier passt alles sehr gut zusammen.


1 Glas Erdnussbutter

1 l Joghurt

½ – 1 Glas Honig

2 EL gehackte, gesalzene Erdnüsse


Alle Zutaten verrühren. Einfrieren.


Noch leckerer wird das Eis, wenn man Erdnusskekse zerbröckelt und in die Eismasse tut. Wer zu Faul zum langen Rühren ist, der nimmt statt Joghurt Sahnequark und Schmand. Statt des Honigs kann man auch einen hellen, feinkörnigen Rohrzucker nehmen, Puderzucker oder Ahornsirup.


Schon als Kind habe ich das amerikanische Eis geliebt. Das war immer so „gooey“, hatte eine weitaus cremigere Konsistenz, die ein wenig an Toffee erinnerte, wenn man die richtigen Sorten erwischte, wie beispielsweise Vanille, Schokolade und Karamell-Sorten.


Anfang der 80er Jahre kam das dann auf, dass man alles mögliche ins Eis tat, wie Karamellsauce, gehackte und geröstete Nüsse oder Krokant, Cookies und Kuchen.

Wenn dann wirklich Toffee oder Fudge drin war, redete man von „chewy“, denn dann hatte man ja so richtig etwas im Eis, worauf man rumkauen konnte.

Diese Sorten wurden in unserer Familie letzendlich die beliebtesten.


Fudge-Eis mit Pecan-Karamell (Fudge-Ice Cream with Pecan Nut-Caramel)


1 kg Sahnequark

4 Becher Schmand

½ l Milch

300 g Instant-Kakao

ca. 400 g Pecan-Karamell (Rezept unten)


Alle Zutaten verrühren. Einfrieren.

Pecan-Nuss-Karamell (Pecan Nut-Caramel)


200 g Puderzucker

1½ dl Sahne

eine winzige Prise Salz

100 g gemahlene Mandeln

etwas Bourbon-Vanille

4 EL Honig

100 g gehackte Pecan-Nüsse


200 g Puderzucker in einem Topf leicht bräunen. 1½ dl Sahne und eine winzige Prise Salz hinzugeben, gut verrühren und schließlich 100 g gemahlene Mandeln, etwas Bourbon-Vanille und 4 EL Honig hinzufügen. So weit einkochen, dass es eine Karamellmasse ergibt. 100 g gehackte Pecan-Nüsse einstreuen. Die Masse ist sehr heiß!

B kowsky

Zitrus-Karamell-Käsekuchen-Eis mit Zitrus-Karamellsauce (Citrus-Caramel-Cheese Cake-Ice Cream with Citrus Caramel Sauce)


Eiscreme (Rezept unten)


eventuell noch mit Krokant bestreuen


Eis in
e ladies and the castle was surrendered to the Venetians, who then raised the Standard of St Mark above its walls. The indignant Paduans felt insulted and broke the pole bearing the banner. This not only put an end to the party, but also led to such bitter discord between Venice on the one side and Padua and Treviso on the other, that an actual war broke out the following year and was only resolved by the direct intervention of the Pope and the patriarch of Aquileia, a powerful ecclesiastical dignitary.

Still, the Treviso marches are a calm and tranquil place, and the local gastronomic delights are clear evidence of the pleasure that the people here take in preparing varied and unusual dishes. The risottos are made with luganega (sausages), with the chiodini or porcini mushrooms from Montello, plump quails and estuary eel caught in the river Sile. Beans, too, are widely used, with a range of recipes, including a pasta and bean dish (with non-egg pasta) and a very tasty bean and tripe soup. And, of course, one should not ignore the local baccalà (stockfish or salted codfish), which is similar to the Vicenza version. Other local dishes that are worth trying include zuppa coada , with pigeons, tripe and chicken, and the renowned purple radicchio of Treviso and Castelfranco, which adds a brilliant note of colour to any meal. One almost gets the feeling of flavours that bring together the warmth of the local sun with traditions that the Longobards of Friuli brought with them from the Baltic, along with their Nordic sagas.

Wild food

The source of the river Piave is near Belluno. As it trickles over rock after rock, it swells until it becomes home to sea trout and small marsoni – fried and served with polenta – are a staple dish of the towns and villages along its banks. Here, in the deep valleys that nestle within the peaks of the Dolomites, food must be robust and substantial for local people to withstand the intense cold in winter and the spring and autumn rains. Hence, such specialities as risottos and pasta dishes made with the famed red beans of Lamon, barley soup and the rich creamy milk produced by the cows that graze on the mountain pastures.

This cooking has developed around large, open kitchen fires where demijohns of full-bodied red wine are warmed, on grates stirred by mighty fire irons, while gleaming copper pots bubble with the daily supply of polenta and roasts turn on a spit. All this against a background of the characteristic long silences of mountain folk, staring in anticipation at smoking irons on which food is being prepared and feeling the warmth of the fire melt the pungent cold in their bones. This is reassuring, unadulterated family food. Here, hunting is inevitably a significant source of ingredients such as pheasant, venison, roe deer, wood grouse, hare and black partridge – all of which can be served in stews, in salmì or alla cacciatora . Then there are spit-roasted goat and chops and ribs roasted on an open fire of aromatic wood. Simple and healthy milk, butter and ricotta are also essential to alpine cooking, with meals ending in rich desserts such as walnut tarts and consegi (biscuits for dunking in sweet wine). All to be followed, inevitably, by a selection of grappas – made with myriad infusions like plums or juniper berries – as well as other distilled spirits made from camomile, passion-flower or bitter gentian. Kept in flasks on the kitchen wall, these turn shivers of cold into shivers of pleasure.

As the large Adige and Po rivers reach out towards the Adriatic, they form a wide delta whose fingers are lined with dense banks of canes and reeds. These are the fish-farm areas, known locally as ‘valli da pesca’ , which are also great hunting territory. In this area of wild, untamed nature, the gourmet is well served – especially in winter, when hunters pick off mallards and other wild ducks from inside their hides; the male duck can weigh up to 6 kg (13 lb) and has a ‘harem’ of up to eight females, each producing as many as 16 ducklings. Birdlife is rich among the waterways and marshes of the Veneto, where crustaceans, molluscs, fish, insects and aquatic plants are in rich supply. One variety of duck found here is the anatra muta – the so-called ‘mute duck’ and subscriber to the saying ‘silence is golden’, which too many humans ignore. Originally from South America, these ducks are found skewered above open fires in hunting lodges and trattorie dotted along the waterways, canals and avenues of the Veneto. Cooking in this part of the Veneto skilfully exploits the various flavours of tender young eels, small dark-fleshed guinea-fowl, and – the absolute monarch of these waters – sea bass. The Po is also home to the sharp-nosed sturgeon, which patient anglers can hook in early spring, when the intrepid fish tries to swim back upstream against the current.

Venetian food and religion

For the people of the Veneto


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