A Taste For… Parma Ham

Parma ham legs hanging to age

The inspector from the Istituto Parma Qualità moves quickly amongst a selection of legs of ham. He pierces each ham in at least five spots using a special horse bone needle and sniffs the needle after each puncture. The needle is quite specialist; horse bone is porous to just the right degree that it takes in ... Read more »

A Taste For… Tamarind

Tamarind Seedpods

I was surprised to learn that the tamarind tree is native to Africa, so strongly is its fruit associated with India, where it has been cultivated for several thousand years; indeed, the name itself comes from the Arabic tamar hindi – Indian date. Today India is the world’s largest producer of tamarind, much of which ... Read more »

A Taste For… Paprika

Spoon with paprika powder

For many years, I assumed that paprika was a Hungarian invention, misled by the origins of the word we use in England to describe this powdered spice. In fact, the story has it that Columbus presented sweet and chilli peppers to King Fernando and Queen Isabel of Spain as a gift of thanks for their ... Read more »

A Taste For… Tofu | Warm Tofu with Spicy Soy, Spring Onion & Garlic Sauce

You probably think you know tofu, don’t you? A wobbly block of bland, white protein much-loved as a meat substitute by vegans and health nuts. But as a card-carrying carnivore, I’m telling you that tofu is a delicious, versatile and nutritious ingredient that should be in everyone’s fridge or store cupboard. Certainly, the flavour is ... Read more »

A Taste For… Matcha

The method of grinding tea leaves into a powder originated in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), but fell out of favour in the centuries to follow. It was not until the practice reached Japan by way of Zen Buddhist monks that it developed into the drink we know today. Image courtesy of Japan Centre ... Read more »

A Taste For… Miso | Japanese-Style Miso Cod

Miso Cod on Kavey Eats

Are you familiar with umami? Discovered (and named) by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda back in 1908 and known as the fifth taste group (alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty), umami is most commonly translated as ‘savoury’ or ‘meaty’ and is a flavour profile that most of us enjoy in our food, whether or not we ... Read more »

A Taste For… Yacon

Yacon syrup

Yacón is a member of the sunflower family, a perennial daisy prized for its sweet, crisp and juicy tuber. Commonly sold as a fruit and also known as Peruvian ground apple, Bolivian sunroot and pear of the earth, it has been cultivated in the Andean highlands for many hundreds of years – yet remains little-known ... Read more »