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Food Festival Features Bugs and More News

Food Festival Features Bugs and More News

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In today's Media Mix, Honey Boo Boo sells Girls Scout cookies, plus Torrisi to open Carbone

The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.

Torrisi to Open Carbone: The fellows behind Parm and Torrisi Italian Specialties will be whipping up "Italian-American fine dining" in Greenwich Village starting this Friday. [NYT]

Honey Boo Boo: The reality TV star is selling Girl Scout cookies in a mall, since they shut her down for selling them via Facebook. We see a burgeoning saleswoman in the works. [Buzzfeed]

Food Festival of Bugs: London's Pestival 2013, which kicks off next month, focuses on insects you can eat, including a pop-up from René Redzepi's Nordic Food Lab. [TIME]

Aging Canned Goods: Forget the sell-by date; apparently all sorts of good things could happen to canned goods if you let them age, but only if you do it right. [Slate/Lucky Peach]

From kangaroo salad to garlic ‘bugs’: Exploring Australia’s 50,000-year-old culinary history

hat comes to mind when you think of authentic Australian food? I’ll hazard a guess and assume it’s not kangaroo sausages, food wrapped in paperbark and smoked over hot coals, or bread using flour made from ground seeds and nuts, which the Aboriginal Australians were cooking long before the colonists arrived.

If you know your stuff, you might have mentioned damper bread brought in by Irish convicts in the 1820s, curries that started filtering in from India in the early 1800s, roast goose or lamb from British immigrants craving a taste of home, the phenomenon of the Australian-Chinese restaurant, or the Aussies’ more recent obsessions with Italian and Greek.

But let’s face it, your first thought was probably “shrimps on the barbie” and Vegemite.

Well, you wouldn’t technically be wrong. Ross Dobson’s new book Australia: The Cookbook, which explores Australian cuisine’s complex history and myriad influences over 50,000 years, includes all of the above.


It’s a veritable tome of a cookbook – nay, an encyclopaedia – that could have you sat for hours exploring the country’s fascinatingly varied, yet singular, culinary landscape with both lightheartedness and sensitivity.

If you do manage to tear yourself away from the chunky, 22-page history section (not to mention the fascinating essay on Aboriginal bushfood), there’s then the task of choosing something to eat from the more than 350 recipes, ranging from Australian icons and twists on classics, to controversial inclusions (ahem, avocado on toast) and lesser known specialities.

So yes, slipping some shrimps on the barbie, sitting back and having a read of this ambitious volume might be the easier option, but unfortunately you won’t find that recipe here. You will, however, find six others that are as mouth-watering as they are unusual.

Note: we don’t recommend nicking a kangaroo from a zoo, so you might need to find an alternative lean meat for one of these recipes.

Cicada Recipes: Bugs Are Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Food

Blanched, boiled, or candied, cicadas are a healthy snack, experts say.

Anyone hoping to spice up their gluten-free diet need look only at the billions of beady-eyed, shrimp-size cicadas currently emerging from the ground in the eastern United States.

"They definitely would be gluten free . they do not feed on wheat," said Gene Kritsky, a biologist and cicada expert at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. The bugs are also high in protein, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates, he added. (Related: "Cicadas as Food: Summer's Low-Fat Snack.")

Members of Brood II, one of the largest groups of periodical cicadas, have been crawling out of the ground and carpeting trees from North Carolina to Connecticut since early May. By July, they will be gone—not to be heard from again for 17 years.

Cicadas spend most of their lives underground sucking sap from tree roots. The plant-based diet gives them a green, asparagus-like flavor, especially when eaten raw or boiled, according to Kristky, who prefers his Brood II bugs blanched and tossed into a leafy green salad like chunks of chicken.

Gross? Not really, said Jenna Jadin, an entomologist who wrote the online cookbook Cicada-Licious: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicada in 2004 while a graduate student at the University of Maryland in College Park.

She notes in her book that crawfish, lobster, crab, and shrimp are part of the same biological phylum—arthropods—as insects. "So popping a big juicy beetle, cricket, or cicada into your mouth is only a step away," Jadin writes. (Related: "U.N. Urges Eating Insects 8 Popular Bugs to Try.")

The entomologist is now a science and technology policy fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. She's been too busy to add recipes to her cookbook, but when asked if she had new ideas for 2013 Brood II emergence, she suggested a cicada-inspired cocktail.

"Right now, craft cocktails are a big deal, so a cocktail with a candied cicada in it would be a good update," she said. The next day, she had the recipe in hand:

1 shot fresh orange juice

Shake all ingredients together with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with two candied cicadas* on a stick, if desired.

More of Jadin's ideas include Martha Stewart-inspired Maple Cicada Cupcakes—roast the bugs for 10 to 20 minutes, then stir them into a cupcake batter with a wooden spoon—and Cicada Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese-style sandwich with cicadas first blanched, then sautéed until brown.

Jadin's cookbook begins with a disclaimer from the University of Maryland asking would-be cicada eaters to first consult a doctor because, like with all foods, certain individuals may have an allergic reaction.

More recent research indicates that mercury from sources such as coal-fired power plants accumulates in the bodies of periodical cicadas, which spend 13 or 17 years underground. "Now, whether that is a concern or not, I would say no," Jadin said.

People already eat fish, which are known to have mercury in their bodies, she noted. Federal guidelines recommend limiting fish intake, especially for pregnant women. The same would probably hold true for cicadas, though there are no official guidelines.

"I don't think the average person who wants to go out and enjoy the cicada emergence by having a meal of cicadas or two [has] anything to worry about," she said.

Her only true concern is the cicadas that emerge in areas heavily treated with pesticides and herbicides, as the insects could have absorbed the chemicals in their bodies.

"Given that it's likely people won't be feasting on cicadas, just eating a few of them, even if they have [absorbed] chemicals, it's no worse than eating fish from the Great Lakes," Jadin said. "If [people] survived that, they'll probably survive eating a plateful of cicada."

And no, there is no bona fide business out there marketing organic cicadas, she added.

The only consequence of cicada feasting that Kritsky is aware of is overindulgence, especially on the part of the family dog or favorite backyard squirrel. The animals may be enticed to gobble cicadas so quickly that the bugs could block the animals' throats.

"Just imagine how you would react if inundated with thousands of flying Hershey's Kisses," Kritsky said. "You might go nuts. I'd go nuts. That's what happens to dogs or squirrels."

Eaten in moderation, most experts agree that cicadas—like most insects—are a good source of protein: about the same amount per pound as red meat. However, official studies on cicada nutrition are lacking, noted Jadin.

So, are you ready to try a cicada? Aspiring gourmands must first collect the raw ingredients. The insects are best eaten just after the nymphs break open their skin and before their exoskeleton turns black and hard, cicada aficionados say.

These newly hatched cicadas are called tenerals. Jadin said they are easiest to collect in the early morning hours, just after the insects emerge from the ground but before they crawl up a tree, where they are harder to reach.

If tenerals are unavailable, the next best menu item is adult females. Their bellies are fat and full of nutritious eggs. (Also see "For Most People, Eating Bugs Is Only Natural.")

Adult males, however, offer little to eat. More crunch than munch, their abdomens are hollow. (This enables the flirtatious tunes they strum on body structures known as tymbals to resonate.) With raw cicadas in hand, preparation is a matter of chef's choice.

Kritsky said, "Most people like them deep fried and dipped in a sauce like a hot mustard or cocktail sauce." Other people boil or blanch them.

Jadin said cicadas take on a "nutty" flavor when roasted. She notes that many cicada recipes call for a lot of spices and sauce, which usually winds up being the dominant flavor.

Now on to the wine: red or white? Jadin, who might be found with a cicada-infused cocktail in hand before the main feast, said neither. "I think anything pairs well with a high-alcoholic Belgian beer, but that's just my opinion."

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spread cicadas in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the cicadas start to turn brown and are thoroughly dried out.

Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for eight minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage at 236°F (113°C). Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately.

Add cicadas to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon onto waxed paper, and immediately separate cicadas with a fork. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Cherry Blossom Festival, Harvest Time, and Beans and Brews

Cherry Blossom Festival
EN Brasserie (435 Hudson Street) is hosting its annual Sakura Festival. Sakura, the cherry blossom, is the national flower of Japan, and its annual bloom season is a cause for celebration throughout the country and the world. To replicate an evening of dining under pink cherry blossoms in Japan, the restaurant will be decorated in with the blooming flowers. As part of the experience, a special Sakura Kaiseki menu will highlight seasonal Japanese delicacies, incorporating the delicate blossoms within the dishes. The festival will take place from Sunday, April 26th through May 9th (details).

EVENTS THIS WEEK (April 22 through 28)

Beard on Books April 22
Irena Chalmers discusses her book, Food Jobs (details).

Celebrity Chef Tour April 23
Celebrity chefs create a "once in a lifetime" meal experience to benefit the James Beard Foundation scholarship fund (details).

A Platter of Figs April 23
Spend an evening with Chez Panisse executive chef David Tanis as he discusses seasonal cooking and more (details).

Spring Savvy Italian Wines April 25
Italian Wine Merchants tastes the flavors of spring with classic and new wines (details).

Harvest Time in NYC April 26
Slow Food NYC presents the first-ever NYC Harvest Time Conference at Astor Center (details).

Beans and Brews April 27
This class at Murray's Cheese will break free from wine and explore beer and chocolate pairings (details).

Meat Lover's Class April 28
Discover restaurant tricks and secrets with meat selection and preparation (details).

For more events this week and beyond, visit our new Agenda Calendar.

Know about an upcoming food and wine event? Submit a listing here free of charge during this introductory period.

Agenda: Sexy Lobsters, Cider Festival, Grilling, and Cheese

Sexy Lobsters, Succulent Sushi
Trevor Corson, author and journalist (also known as "The Lobster Sex Guy" and America's only "Sushi Concierge") will be at Purchase College to discuss "Sexy Lobsters, Succulent Sushi: How We Can Save the Seas with Good Eating!" The lecture will focus on biology and conservation through humorous tales about the undersea antics of lobsters, the rugged lives of fishermen who catch them, and the need for sustainability in an age of vanishing seafood. The event will take place at the college's Performing Arts Center (735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, New York) on Tuesday, April 7th at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. (914.251.6631)

MORE EVENTS THIS WEEK (April 1 through 7)

Basque Cider Festival
Flatbush Farm (76-78 St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn) is hosting a traditional Basque Cider Festival complete with sarasola cider and a menu including bacalao omelettes, steaks, Basque peppers, and "Idiazábal," a smoked unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese. The festival will take place on Thursday, April 2nd. (718.622.3276)

There Are Probably a Lot More Bugs in Your Food Than You Realize

Eating bugs is a pretty common practice in cuisines around the world. But when you don’t know there are bugs in your food, I think we can all agree it’s kind of gross. Yet, according to the FDA’s rules, humans can consume up to 140,000 pieces of insect matter each year. Um, what?

Apparently, it’s par for the course that some insect parts are going to find their way into our food supply &mdash and it’s not unsafe, exactly, for us to unknowingly eat bugs. But can we all agree that it’s honestly kind of disgusting?

Like, when people eat crickets, ant eggs or other insects on purpose, the bugs are processed and cooked in a specific way. When we eat bugs that get in our food accidentally, it makes me wonder about the cleanliness of the production facility &mdash if bugs can get in, what else is in there?

You’re probably wondering how many insects, exactly, we’re allowed to ingest. The numbers are shockingly high, according to a recent report by insect control company TERRO.

Image: Terro

I’m hoping and praying that some of these are microscopic insects, because otherwise how could one possibly ingest 60 insects with every half-cup of broccoli? The FDA also allows there to be 25,000 insects in each half-cup of hops. Like… how do that many insects fit in a half-cup of anything? Well, it turns out the bugs in question are aphids, which clock in at just 2 to 5 millimeters in size. TBH, still kind of repulsive.

Luckily, a lot of the bugs are actually kind of nutritious. Think of them as nature’s protein powder, helping you to be healthier without even realizing it.

Image: Terro

Then again, we could all just use actual protein powder, but when life hands you lemons… you eat bugs, apparently.

6 Traditional and Delicious Lohri Recipes to Make Your Festival More Special

Move into the beats of Gidda or Bhangra on Dhol ! Let the ceremonies call for new and promising things for all. Sing the Dulla Bhatti lore aloud and let the holy fire burn all resentments and negativity away. You know it's time to slip into the festive mood once again when the aromatic flavors fuse with the essence of culture! We bring you some of the authentic recipes by top chefs to make this auspicious day more special.

Family-friendly and packed with nutrients, this plant-based take on a beloved classic is sure to take this guess work out of the mid-week slump. Double up and freeze for a heat-and-eat, post school, munchies win. Make using our fuss free No-Meatballs to halve the prep time and spend more of your precious moments catching up on your little person’s day.

Your little ones will take great joy in helping you prep this magical, under-the-sea lunchtime special. Turning lunch into a fun and easy learning experience, healthy for body and mind.

Indian Festival Food (Recipes)

India is one of the few countries in the world that can boast of people from different backgrounds and different religions living together and enjoying and celebrating festivals of each other with the same enthusiasm as they celebrate their own. These different religions provide India with a lot of different festivals that are celebrated all year long. As a matter of fact some people say that India is a country where a festival is celebrated everyday.

These festivals offer a great opportunity for people from different religions to enjoy the traditional delicacies that are cooked using the traditional recipes. These traditional recipes have been passed on from generations to generations.

Each and every festival brings with it the joy of the festival and ceremonious food that is awaited for all year long. These special recipes provide a great opportunity to discover and taste the delicacies of Indians. Everybody is allowed to forget about their health related problem and enjoy the food and sweets to the fullest.

Sweets are added attractions festivals like Diwali, Lohri, Eid etc. are well known for offering sweets that are a must eat during the period in which these festivals arrive. A must eat because as one goes from home to home congratulating people on festivals it is considered a omen to offer sweets to the well wisher. Although you will realize how easy it is to prepare these sweets once you have gone through the recipe sections of various festivals.

Every festival in India have a different approach towards food for example on one hand the festival of Karwa Chauth is about staying hungry whole day and enjoying food only in early morning or late at night and on the other hand the festival of Holi offers a great opportunity to enjoy some of the best spicy as well as sweet food. This diversity in the food and the cooking will become clearer to you once you have browsed through our Indian festival food section.

Here we are providing few Indian festival food recipes to make your festival celebrations more tasty and mouth watering.

A traditional French soup made with a mix of vegetables seasoned with thyme or zaatar

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