Familiarise yourself with Organico’s speciality rice selection

risotto
Cultivated for your pleasure

I’ve said it before – the folk at Organico foods are impressive.

They always seem to bring quality, authenticity and and a sense of fairness to the table.

You are spoilt for choice with their range of organic Mediterannean foods, and now they’re offering a choice of speciality rice.

For example have you heard of Nerone Rice (or Black Rice)? By legend it is known as ‘Forbidden Rice’, because it was apparently reserved exclusively for the Chinese Emperor and his family (because of its nutritional and aphrodisiac properties!)

The wholegrain rice has a fragrant aroma and texture, best used for seafood or hearty vegetables mixes and casseroles.

Then there’s Essenza Rice. Essenza means ‘essence’ of fragrance. The aroma from the rice can be smelt even as its storks ripen in the field. As a long grain variety it is suitable for general cooking, especially with casseroles, sauces, curries or cold rice salad.

Organico’s Wild Red Rice is characterised by a tender, aromatic flavour which keeps longer after cooking. It is also rich in mineral salts, particularly selenium, antioxidants, iron and proteins and is easily digested – so it has gained a ‘superfood’ or ‘supergrain’ reputation.

Try this wholegrain rice with vegetable mixes, in a pilaf or with spicy and strongly flavoured dishes.

Finally, there’s Carnaroli Rice, the ‘king of risotti’. It’s regarded as the best risotto rice because the grain is compact and absorbs well without losing much of its starch. This means the rice draws in all the flavour of the ingredients and liquids but keeps its texture well.

Risottos are not difficult to make. The main thing to remember is do not boil the rice separately. But to help you Organico have also put together three quick and easy risotto meals using the Carnaroli grain:

Buon appetito!

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The 2012 FreeFrom Food Awards shortlist is out

If you’re gluten free or dairy free, vegan or avoiding yeast take note the FreeFrom Food Awards judging panels have chosen just under 170 freefrom foods to go on the 2012 shortlist.

Many of these new free from foods really pushing at the boundaries of ‘freefrom’ manufacture. From coconut yogurt to nettle ‘beer’! Here’s the 2012 FreeFrom Food Awards shortlist. Winners to be announced on the 17th April.

1. The Innovation Award
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Lemon
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Chocolate
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Vanilla
BoojaBooja – Banoffee Toffee Truffles
Conscious Chocolates – Wild at Heart
CoYo – Coconut Milk Yoghurt – Natural
CoYo – Coconut Milk Yoghurt – Mixed Berry
Foodswild – Cornish Stinger Nettle Beer
Knead Bakery – Carrot Cake
Provamel Botanicals – Alternative to Yoghurt Apple & Green Tea
The Foodamentalists – Brown Bread Mix
Triano Brands – Tofutti Ricotta Soya Cheese Alternative

2. Dairy and/or lactose-free animal milk, butter, yogurt – sponsored by Swedish Glace
Delamere Dairy – Natural Goats Yoghurt
Delamere Dairy – Semi-Skimmed Goats Milk
Delamere Dairy – Goats Butter
Woodlands Dairy – Gooseberry & Elderflower with Natural Sheep Milk Yoghurt
Woodlands Dairy – Rhubarb & Ginger with Natural Sheep Milk Yoghurt

3. Plant ‘milk’, spread & cheese – sponsored by Pure Dairy Free
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Chocolate
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Lemon
CoYo – Coconut Yoghurt Natural
CoYo – Coconut Yoghurt Mixed Berry
Delamere Dairy – Sweetened Soya Milk
Essence of Eden – Virgin Coconut Oil
Higher NatureOmega Excellence Organic Virgin Coconut Butter
Its Only Natural – Fruit Freezies Orange and Mango
Kara Dairy FreeAlternative to Milk Original + Calcium
Vegusto – Melty Dairy-Free Cheese
Vegusto – Mild Aromatic Dairy-Free Cheese
Vegusto – Dairy-free cheese sauce

4. FreeFrom Breakfast Cereals – sponsored by Fria Gluten Free
Bob’s Red Mill – Pure Traditional Oats
Groovy Food Company – Corn Flakes
Groovy Food Company – Choco Crispies
Juvela – Fibre Flakes
Morrisons – FreeFrom Gluten Free Oats
Nature’s PathMaple Sunrise
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Oaty Granola
Tesco – FreeFrom Special Flakes

5. Gluten-free breads and bread mixes – sponsored by Genius Gluten Free
Butterfly Snacks – Gluten Free Rotis (Naan/Bread Wrap)
Crazy Bakers Bundies Brothers – Brown Bread Rolls
Finax – Oat Bread Mix
Fria – Grova Dark Seeded Sliced Loaf
Fria – Grov Minibaguette Dark Seeded Roll
Glutafin – Gluten Free Wheat Free 4 Fibre Rolls
Juvela – Gluten-Free All Purpose White Mix
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Soft White Seeded Rolls

6. Gluten-free pasta and pizza bases/mixes – sponsored by Tesco
Bob’s Red Mill – GF Wholegrain Pizza Crust Mix
Co-operative Foods – FreeFrom Fusilli
Doves Farm FoodsOrganic Tricolore Pasta
Eskal FoodsCorn Pasta
Farabella – Acini di Pepe/Pasta Grains
Molino di Ferro – La Veneziane Penne

7. Freefrom foods manufactured for food service – sponsored by Livwell
Costa  – Gluten Free Fruit Cake
Doves Farm FoodsGluten Free Plain White Flour Blend without Buckwheat
Doves Farm FoodsOrganic Brown Rice Penne
Foodamentalists – Golden Batter Mix
Red House Foods – Gluten Free Chicken Bites
Sauces of Choice – Sauces for Kids Tikka Sauce
Triano Brands – Tofutti Grated Mozzarella Soya Cheese Alternative

8. Freefrom Ingredients – sponsored by Juvela
Anila’s Sauces – Goan Green Sauce
Black Farmer – Spicy Muscovado sauce
Bob’s Red Mill – Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
ClearspringKuzu Gluten Free Starch Thickener
Finax – Psyllium
Go Free Foods – Pancake Mix
Mesquite Company – Pure Mesquite Pod Flour
Pepper & Stew – Jollof  Sauce
Sauces of Choice – Balsamic & Garlic Sauce

9. Raw foods and superfoods – sponsored by Asda
Elements for Life – Raw Chocolate Making Kit
Elements for Life – Spiced Hot Chocolate
Higher Nature– Omega Excellence Raw Organic Walnut Butter
inSpiral – Raw Blackout Tart
inSpiralRaw Dehydrated Kale Chips: Cheesie Purple Corn
James White DrinksBeet It Organic Stamina Shot
Mesquite Company – Pure Mesquite Pod Flour
Pulsin’ – Beond Organic Acai Berry Bar
Raw Health – Organic Chia & Flax Dippers
The Living Food KitchenRaw Hummus

10. Gluten-free savoury pies, flans, sausages and ready meals – sponsored by Delamere Dairy
Meat-based meal centres:
Black Farmer – Pork Meatballs
Black Farmer – Pork, Onion & Chive Sausages
Cloughbane Farm – Gluten Free Beef Sausages
Cloughbane Farm – Gluten Free Steak Burgers
Co-operative Foods – Truly Irresistible Pork Sausages
Co-operative Foods – Truly Irresistible Minted Lamb Burgers
Pies, flans, pizzas, one pot meals:
Amy’s KitchenGluten Free Vegetable Lasagne
Amy’s KitchenGluten Free Bean and Rice Burrito
Butterfly Snacks – Gluten Free Chicken Spring Rolls
Dr Schar – Gluten Free Tortellini
Dr Schar – Gluten Free Bonta d’Italia Margherita Pizza
Easy Bean – New Mexican Chilli Fairtrade Red Bean with Sweet Pepper One Pot Meal
Foodamentalists – Pork, Black Pudding & Caramelised Red Onion Pie
Genius
– Mozzarella Cheese & Tomato Pizza
Gluten Free Kitchen – Ovencrust Steak Pie
Gluten Free Kitchen – Ovencrust Chicken & Bacon Pie
stewed! – Chickpea, Sweet Potato & Feta One Pot Meal
The Food Resource – Fusilli al Funghi
Worthenshaws – Chicken Tikka with Brown Basmati Rice
Worthenshaws – Thai Green Vegetable Curry with Brown Basmati Rice

11. Gluten-free savoury biscuits and snacks – sponsored by Genon Laboratories
Amisa
Multiseed Crisp Bread
Conscious Foods – Millet Crackers with Rosemary
Crazy Bakers – Half Pipes Swedish Crispbreads
Darling Spuds – Fire Roasted Jalapeno Crisps
Darling Spuds – Sour Cream with a hint of Mexican Chilli
Darling Spuds – Tomato, Olive & Oregano
Juvela – Crostini Bites

12. Gluten-free scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, cake bars, muffins etc – sponsored by Tesco
Asda – FreeFrom All Butter Lemon Sicilian Shortbread
Conscious Foods – Ginger Thins
Co-operative Foods – FreeFrom Triple Chocolate Cookies
Co-operative Foods – FreeFrom Fruited Teacakes 4 Pack
Crazy Bakers – Oaties
Heavenly Cakes – Gluten & Wheat Free Millionaires
Molino di Ferro – La Veneziane Coconut Biscotti
Morrisons – FreeFrom 6 Assorted Jam Tarts
Sugargrain – Almond, Apricot and Tahini Flapjack
Sweetcheeks – Almondies
Tesco – FreeFrom Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tesco – FreeFrom Ginger Cookies

13. Gluten-free cakes and mixes – sponsored by Mrs Crimbles
The Brilliant Bakers – Cupcake Gift Cake
Cake Angels – Traditional Cherry & Almond Cake
The Cake Crusader – Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
The Cake Crusader– Rich Fruit Cake
Cakes Divine – Dairy & Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes
Cariad Cakes – Gluten Free Orchard Plum & Ginger Cake
Fria – Kladdkaka Chocolate Brownie Cake
Incognito Cakes – Choc Fudge Cake
Incognito Cakes – White Choc Raspberry Muffins
Lewis & Cooper – Gluten-free Fruit Cake
Ms Cupcake – Cupcakes
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Chocolate Chip Muffins
Steph’s Free From Cakes – Lemon Drizzle Cake
Sugargrain – Banana & Chocolate Chip Loaf
Sweetcheeks – Maple & Pecan Cupcakes

14. Gluten-free puddings, desserts & cheesecakes – sponsored by Hale & Hearty
Food Heaven – Summer Fruits Cheesecake
Food Heaven – Sicilian Lemon Cheesecake
Tideford OrganicsButterscotch Rice Pudding
Mamma CucinaMango & Passionfruit Non-Dairy Cheesecake

15. Dairy/gluten-free chocolate and snack bars – sponsored by Tesco
BionaOrganic Sour Snakes
Booja BoojaRum Sozzled Sultana Chocolate Truffles
Celtic Chocolates – Choices FreeFrom White Choc Easter Egg & Buttons
Conscious ChocolatesEssential Orange
Eskal FoodsChocolate Coated Pretzels
Eskal FoodsYoghurt Coated Pretzels
Gourmelli – Secret Passion Organic Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bar 74%
Kinnerton – Dairy, Egg, Gluten and Nut Free Bar
Nut Free Chocolatier – Pomegranate & Elderflower Truffles
Pulsin’Raw Choc Brownie
Tickety Boo Cakes – Roo’s Crunch

16. Dairy/gluten-free Christmas foods – sponsored by Produced in Italy
Cariad Cakes – Christmas Cake
Conscious Chocolates – Cherry Christmas
Christine’s Puddings – Rum and Ale Pudding
Foodamentalists – Frangipane Mince Pies
Friendly Food and Drink – Xmas chutney
Genius – Gluten-free mince pies
Lewis and Cooper – Plum Pudding
Livwell – Christmas cake
Morrison’s – FreeFrom Christmas pudding
OK Foods – FreeFrom Mince Pies
Pyman Pates – Chickenliver with port, brandy and cranberries
The Heavenly Cake Company – Christmas cake

17. Gluten-free beer – sponsored by Asda
Daas – Ambre Beer
Daas – Blond Beer
Foodswild – Cornish Stinger Nettle Beer
Gluten-Free Shop – Ambar
Green’s – Bottle Refermented Blonde Ale
Green’s – Premium Golden Ale
Wold Top – Against the Grain

Pasta is the world’s favourite food, but can it save the world?

We Brits eat a lot of pasta, but not as much as the Tunisians or Venezuelans and, of course, the Italians. This worldwide appeal explains why pasta has been found to be the world’s most favourite food.

However, other foods are not far behind, according to an Oxfam survey. The top 10 of favourite foods worldwide were…

  1.  Pasta
  2.  Rice
  3.  Pizza
  4.  Chicken
  5.  Meat
  6.  Vegetables
  7.  Steak
  8.  Chinese
  9.  Lasagna
  10.  Fish

Overall, it looks like Italy has a lot to answer for. And, as you can see from the links, at GoodnessDirect we’re keen to satisfy people’s tastes.

But the real reason for the survey is to highlight the rising concern over worldwide food prices. Every night, almost 1/6th of people in the world go to bed hungry.

This week the G20 meet in Paris to discuss rising food costs. Oxfam predicts food prices will double by 2030. The truth is, wherever we are in the world, we’re going to be affected. Let’s pray the politicians ‘use their noodles’ and find a lasting solution.

Food price crisis – can Fairtrade help?

Chocolate prices could be up 20% next year! Perhaps this might provoke millions of women around the world to campaign against the disasterous market gambling on the value of food?

In 2010 food prices have been on the rise again. We could soon see more riots worldwide as we did in 2007/8.

Evidence is gathering that it is the speculation on food prices that is fueling the massive leap in the cost of basic commodoties such as wheat and rice. High prices mean that the world’s poorest can’t afford basic foods despite their availability. During the last crisis this resulted in the malnutrition and even deaths of millions.

Can Fairtrade help in this crisis?

Buying Fairtrade still helps, Photo by Kaihsu Tai
Buying Fairtrade still helps
Photo by Kaihsu Tai

As I look at some new jars of Clipper Fairtrade  and Organic Coffee and Decaf Coffee on my desk, my hope is that buying food like this can still be a voice for sustainable development, even in greedy times.

Will guaranteeing a minimum profit for the farmer mean that Fairtrade prices aren’t so volatile at the consumer end? I’m not sure. Will small farmers (who make up 75% of the world’s poor) always at the mercy of fat cats creaming the best off the profits and leaving economic devastation in their wake? Again, it’s difficult to say. This year has already seen the price of coffee at its highest for 12 years, and cocoa is a staggering 25% more expensive than it was during the food crisis in 2008.

However what Fairtrade can do is bring confidence to the farmer: if they are guaranteed a minimum profit they can afford to budget through hard times and have a greater chance of buying food for their families when prices shoot up; and they can think about investing in the future for their communities, thus helping to lift themselves out of the poverty trap.

So while chaos may reign, Fairtrade farmers will have some reason to feel safer. You can pick up some of their Fairtrade produce here.

Yeast free breakfast cereals

I was writing about cereals for people who avoid gluten recently.

But if you avoid yeast, dairy or gluten, you might have come across the Morning Puffs range.

Morning Puff cereals are 100% natural so they have no artificial colours or flavours. That way you know exactly what you are eating.

Healthy cereal
Healthy cereal

Maple syrup or agave syrup, honey or fruit berries concentrate is used for flavour in some of the cereals. And you can select puffed grains made from rice, corn, buckwheat, millet or brown rice.

The other advantage is that they are organic and produced in a nut free environment.

It’s always good to have a range of healthy cereals in your cupboard.

Pasta galore! In more flavours than you could possibly think – recipe below

Forget fish and chips or curry, pasta is the nation’s favourite when it comes to choosing what to cook.

In many UK homes Italian food is served 2-3 times a week with “spag bol” in top position as the most cooked meal.

Pasta - everyone's favourite meal
Pasta - everyone's favourite meal

Imagine pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes, rocket and walnuts; or goats cheese and honey ravioli; or creamy spinach and asparagus fettuccine – it all sounds soooo delicious, but if you have a friend with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) it’s immediately off the menu.

Still, IBS sufferers can eat pasta if it’s not made from traditional durum wheat. Biona have spaghetti, fusilli and tagliatelle all made from spelt, a more ancient grain which doesn’t effect people with IBS.

In fact pasta can be made from corn, rice, kamut, buckwheat, amaranth, millet or quinoa; vegetables are often used in pasta too.

Using other types of pasta also means a bigger range of flavour: nutty or sweet, firm or rich in texture. Choose the right kind of pasta and you really can amplify how your dinner will taste.

Here’s a buckwheat pasta recipe called Pizzoccheri – it’s a great comfort food.

125g butter
1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 medium potatoes, cubed
300g dried buckwheat pasta
1 small savoy cabbage
100g brie sliced
100g grated mature cheddar
50g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
a pinch ground nutmeg

1. In a small pan, melt the butter together with the cloves of garlic and the sage. Keep on a low heat so it does not burn.
2. Cook the pasta in boliling water for about 15 minutes (buckwheat pasta takes longer then normal pasta).
3. At the same time boil a second pan of salted water. Shred the cabbage leaves and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and place in a large serving dish. Keep the pan of water.
4. Add the potatoes to the same water and boil until very tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and add to cabbage.
5. When the pasta is cooked to al dente. Drain and toss in with the cabbage and potatoes. Mix in the cheeses.
6. Pour the butter over the top of the pasta and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Gluten-free pasta

When it comes to gluten-free the Italians are well educated about Ceoliac disease. All Italian children are tested for gluten intolerance by the time they are 6.

We get a little benefit of their know-how with companies like Buontempo who price their gluten-free pasta at very competitive prices. And our very own Doves, the British purveyor of organic and gluten-free flours, has an organic gluten-free pasta range where the pasta is made in… well Italy, obviously.

There are so many pasta companies out there who are worthy of a mention. Barkat, for example, is a special diet company who have just introduced it’s own gluten-free macaroni.

The best thing to do is to type ‘pasta‘ into the GoodnessDirect search box and then use the brand guide on the right to check through the different options.

Shiitake Mushrooms & Rice

This recipe was kindly provided by one of our customers. If you’ve got a favourite recipe that you’d like to share with other GoodnessDirect customers, please e-mail it to us at info@goodnessdirect.co.uk and we’ll try to include it on our site.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoon Shiitake mushrooms
350g long grain brown rice
200g frozen peas
6-8 chopped spring onions
2 hard boiled eggs
3 tablespoons halved pecan nuts
grated rind of 1 orange
light soy sauce

Soak shiitake mushrooms in water for 10 minutes and cut into slices with scissors. Remove wooden stalks. Place shiitake and soaking water in base of steamer and add grated orange rind. Place cooked rice in top part of steamer. Put the lid on and cook at a low heat making sure that enough water remains in the bottom to prevent it from burning. Boil the eggs and shell and half the pecans. Peel the eggs and slice each into three. Place the rice in a heated dish and pour on the shiitake and their liquors and gently fold in. Add the pecans and egg. Shake over soy sauce.