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Aubergine caviar, post-Soviet kebab kiosks: what Ukraine’s food culture taught me 30 years ago

The place names are now familiar for the worst reasons. Back then, when I learned to cook, it was a world of dumplings, borsch and compulsory third helpingsThirty years ago, I spent the year I turned 21 in the former Soviet Union, starting in St Petersburg and ending up in Ukraine. I was studying Russian but most of my friends were Ukrainian. This was the time when the former USSR had recently started to call itself the Commonwealth of Independent States. Although Ukraine had been independent for three years, overt declarations of national identity were mostly buried beneath the surface

June162024
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‘Spain is much more than patatas bravas’: José Pizarro’s summer recipes

When José Pizarro first arrived in the UK in 1999 seeking to expand his horizons as a chef, he found a country in a benighted state of ignorance as far as Spanish food was concerned. “People were confusing jamón ibérico with parma ham,” he says with a shudder. “Everyone thought it was all just patatas bravas and sangría. I like patatas bravas and sangría, don’t get me wrong, but Spain is so much more than that.”Fortunately, the public were eager to learn and Pizarro, who grew up eating his mother’s “simple but amazing” food in Extremadura, made it his mission to spread the word

June162024
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Conservationist Isabella Tree: ‘Rewilding is vital for the UK’s agricultural future’

The farmer and author on allowing nature to transform and restore our ecology – and how the best way to measure progress is through dung beetlesAt lunch in Hove, a block back from the seafront, on the first summery day of the year, Isabella Tree is explaining the phrase that best describes her work: “Don’t just do something, stand there.”The phrase captures the philosophy behind rewilding, the movement that the happily named Tree has done so much to pioneer, with her husband, Charlie Burrell, on the 1,400 acres of land they own at Knepp in Sussex. The essence of their project has been to undo the damage of decades of intensive farming by working with the environment, rather than against it.In 2001, with mounting debts, falling subsidies and thinning soils, the couple cashed in their tractors and harvesters and dairy herd and milk quota, and did something different: they let loose wild Exmoor ponies and Longhorn cattle and Tamworth pigs on their estate and then stood back, watching and waiting.The result of that inaction was nothing short of revolutionary

June162024
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Richard Bainbridge’s secret ingredient: nutritional yeast

I’ve recently found out about nutritional yeast and it’s kind of blown my mind. For years, it was a kind of secret vegan substitute and it has all these savoury flavours; you can sprinkle it on even the most basic salad and it gives an amazing umami finish. It’s a brilliant seasoning, even over roast potatoes.It has an almost salty finish, like parmesan, so you can use it as a substitute. I’ve made a vegan mac and cheese for the restaurant – incredible, a unique depth of flavour

June162024
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Curry tasting in Fife, oysters on Exmoor: expert tips for foodie holidays around Britain

“Glastonbury was crying out for more food venues but we had to exercise caution,” says Ayesha Kalaji who runs Queen of Cups, a contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant in the heart of the boho Somerset town. “The restaurant had to be accessible to everyone as community is so important to the people here.”Kalaji’s cooking is inspired by her Jordanian roots, as much as her background in Michelin-starred restaurants and OFM favourites the Palomar and Bubala, but Queen of Cups’s appeal goes way beyond the food. Kalaji has kept the 17th-century pub’s much-loved Sunday music sessions and the town’s “Queer Cabaret” night. “Glastonbury is quirky – we have a town wizard – but we are comfortable in our skin,” she says

June162024
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Gordon Ramsay ‘lucky to be here’ after US bike crash

Gordon Ramsay has said he is lucky to be alive after a “really bad” cycling accident in the US.The celebrity chef said wearing a helmet saved his life after the collision in Connecticut.In an Instagram video, he showed a huge purple bruise that appeared to cover a significant portion of his torso and shared photos of a crushed helmet and torn clothing.Ramsay, 57, said: “Hey guys, it’s Gordon. I’d like to share a very important message with you all

June162024