American movie star Stanley Tucci can’t remember a family Christmas without a timpano, says Jay Rayner in The Observer. The drum-shaped Italian delicacy, seen in his 1996 film Big Night, is “essentially a giant pie” layered with pasta, ragu, salami, boiled eggs, provolone cheese and meatballs. In his new memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food, Tucci explains how his father’s family brought their recipe to America from Calabria. But his wife, Felicity (Emily Blunt’s sister), can’t bear it – nor can his daughters or sister. “I think there’s something to do with gender and the timpano,” he says.
The actor turned food writer grew up in New York state, where he once found his immigrant Italian grandmother skinning a squirrel on the porch, says Jennifer Reese in The Washington Post. Bottles of tomato sauce, simmered over an open fire and strained through pillowcases, lay in the basement alongside bottles of dubious purple wine made by his grandfather. Tucci once dined with Meryl Streep in a Normandy bistro, where the whole party ordered andouillette, a French sausage made with intestines. When their food arrived, everyone agreed it looked like a horse’s private parts and sheepishly sent it back in favour of omelettes.
Read Tucci’s timpano recipe here.
The magic of foraged mushrooms
There’s something thrilling about hunting for “divine-tasting” mushrooms on the forest floor, says Tom Parker Bowles in Country Life. The “most majestic” are ceps and chanterelles. Ceps – known as porcini, or “little pigs”, in Italy – resemble “a portly Mr Pickwick”, while the yellow chanterelle is “sylph-like in its slender elegance” and has a “faint scent of apricot”. Both have a “mycorrhizal bond” with trees, swapping nutrients and information in a “subterranean wood wide web”.
Optimum picking conditions? Watch out for torrential rain followed by a couple of days of bright sun. And make sure you know your edible mushrooms from your poisonous ones, as “there’s nothing like a slow and painful death to really ruin one’s dinner”. When cooked, ceps have a “nutty, mild flavour” and chanterelles a “peppery tang”. Wipe off any dirt and cut off the mushy bits. Sauté them in butter and oil over a high-ish heat, then add a clove or two of finely chopped garlic. Follow with a pinch of parsley, salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon. Serve on toast or with eggs – fried for ceps, scrambled for chanterelles.
Catch of the day, vegan style
Vegan seafood is hot right now, says Zoe Wood in The Guardian. Nestlé has just launched Vrimp, a blend of seaweed, peas and konjac root that’s designed to look and taste like shrimps. Lewis Hamilton’s Neat Burger restaurants in London sell an £8 “filet-no-fish” burger made of jackfruit marinated in seaweed, and Dutch brand Vegan Zeastar is adding smoked Zalmon to its range. Demand for faux fish has risen in the wake of the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy, which revealed the extent of overfishing in the world’s oceans.
Adele goes back to her roots
“I know everything there is to know about food,” says Adele in a video for British Vogue. The singer did a blind taste test of a dozen British dishes: “I feel like I’m starring in the next Fifty Shades of Grey movie.” She recognised eight of them, slipping up on fish pie, kippers – “It’s the same thing as mackerel, go ask anyone in London” – spotted dick and Battenberg cake.