Friday, 23 May 2014

The answer to all your Italian cooking desires

THERE was a time when the mention of Italian food would make people think no further than spaghetti, pizza or tiramisu.

But over the years the British palate has grown more adventurous as people have explored the wealth of cuisine from around the globe.

Italian has always been a favourite, whether it is a simple plate of spaghetti vongole or a more exotic lobster risotto infused with the scent of truffle.

Italy’s culture is deep-rooted in its love of food and there is an Aladdin’s cave of flavours and textures offered in its dishes - for those willing to take the plunge.

The secret of great food is of course high-quality, authentic ingredients and when it comes to a taste of Italy, Peccando promises nothing but the real thing.

Set up by housewife and keen cook ‘Beata’, is the go-to website for people who want to delve deeper into the adventure of Italian cooking.

The name ‘Peccando’ means ‘sinning’ in Italian - an apt title as all its products are “worth sinning for”, Beata told me.

She said: “Just as supermarkets sell the sort of food we need for our daily lives, we provide speciality items which transform the way we eat.

“Our website has detailed descriptions of hundreds of foods, delicacies and authentic Italian ingredients.”

The website sells virtually every type of pasta including Cavatelli, a thick pasta with curled edges, Orecchiette which means “small ears” in Italian, and elongated ‘Strascinati-, which  means ‘dragged’ in reference to the manner in which it is shaped.

There are also black varieties infused with squid ink including Fettuccine egg pasta and Spaghetti Squid Ink.

People wanting to impress their dinner party guests can stock up on Chillies stuffed with Tuna, delicious Grilled Artichokes cooked on volcanic rocks and a wide selection of cakes and biscuits.

Italians are known for their love of coffee and Peccando sells authentic ground and decaffeinated varieties.

Beata said: “Peccando is an online grocery run by Italians and specialising in the finest Italian products ranging from ready-to-eat delicacies to the kind of great ingredients not usually available outside Italy.

"We are strictly governed by this criteria when choosing our products: that they must be of the highest quality, must be produced and certified in Italy and, above all, they must taste great.

“Most of our suppliers are not manufacturers – they are family-run small businesses benefitting from decades of tradition and passion for what they create and they are making their delicacies available to Peccando.

“We don’t have a bricks and mortar presence so the only visit you need to make is just a click away."

Anyone who is nervous about turning their hand to Italian cooking can make use of a selection of recipes on the site.

Before long you could be knocking up Trofie pasta with salmon, Black olives tart, or Orecchiette al pomodoro - a popular pasta and minced beef dish.

Peccando makes home deliveries from Monday to Friday at £5.90 for parcels up to 20kg.

Free delivery applies for orders of more than £69.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Getting cool again - snow by the weekend

In the space of a few days it has gone from wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures in the 60s (20C) to feeling pretty cold and grey again.

Although it is still warmer than average for the time of year, the mercury is set to drop even further making it feel wintry in parts by the weekend.

The north is in for some unsettled conditions  with gales of up to 70mph threatening to batter parts of Scotland with heavy rain forecast.

Although it has been very pleasant recently, some regions have already seen dramatic changes in temperature in just a few hours.

Last week a high of 15.7C (60.3F) was recorded during the day in Ardoyne, Scotland, and just hours later it had plunged to -5.5C (22.1F) - a difference of 20C.

On Sunday thermometers rocketed to 86F (20C) across the south with swathes of the country feeling almost summer-like.

Although the bad news is it is set to get cooler, the good news is that spring as a whole looks promising with May likely to be the best month.

The Met Office said  by the end of the week they temperatures are likely to have sunk to around  50F (10C).

In the North the mercury will hover closer to around -3C (27F) over night with even the chance of sleet or snow on high ground.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicky Maxey said: “It is going to get cooler through the week, there could be quite a big temperature difference to what we’ve seen.

“In the north there is some rain on the way and there is the chance of gales on Thursday and Friday, remaining unsettled into next week.

“The warm weather has been due to an area of high pressure close to the UK which is starting to dissipate, bringing temperatures back to normal.”

Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel, said temperatures could drop as low as -8C (18F) in Scotland by the weekend.

He said: “Turning much colder to end the week, and this weekend. 

“On Thursday the cold front will move south across Scotland  to northern England and Wales, eventually reaching the south-east in the evening. 

“Outbreaks of locally heavy rain along the front, but becoming lighter as it reaches the south-east.

“A cold weekend with sunshine and wintry showers. Some snow even to low levels in northern Scotland. 

“Temperatures may dip out to -8C in Scotland and -6C (21F) in northern England, even  in the south-west temperatures may fall out to -3C (27F).”

The Met Office’s three-month contingency planner suggests temperatures above or near average until June. 

It’s all down to a weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation which is expected to enter a positive phase allowing warm air to flood in.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: “At the moment May looks like it could be the best month of them all.

“With some cooler spells there are likely to be some extreme heat spikes bringing the average temperatures up.”

Sunday, 19 January 2014

SHOCK WARNING: Gays to trigger years of HELLISH weather warns 'expert'

BRITAIN faces years of vicious storms, floods, heatwaves and big freezes, an expert has claimed.

The entire country is at risk of relentless extreme weather events with a never-ending deluge of torrential rain, snow and football-sized golf balls.

To heap further misery on the nation, lightning bolts  threaten to erupt from the heavens with no-one spared from the ferocious onslaught.

However, the latest ‘research’ conflicts with current theories that the changing weather is the result of climate change.

According to part-time meteorologist and recently-suspended Ukip councillor David Silvester, the real cause has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions or the ozone layer.

Nor is it in any way linked to  claims from some meteorologists that cyclic weather patterns could be triggering the variance of the weather.

Silvester, who claims to have a unique insight into what affects the climate, has blamed television soap EastEnders.

He said as soon as its new ‘gay’ story line was unveiled he knew we were in for trouble, and has only now felt able to speak out.

Quickly washing his eyes out with soap and bleach after catching the scene on television he then rushed into his garden to bring the washing in.

He said: “As soon as a I saw that young actor telling Danny Dyer he was gay, I thought ‘bugger it’ - that’s summer screwed this year.

“I knew it was going to trigger violent rain and flooding.

“These weather patterns could continue, especially if they don’t clean their act up, or bring in some nice, clean, heterosexual characters.”

He said the rot set in back in the early 1990’s when there was  a run of hotter summers and several exceptionally big freezes.

“I blame Brookside, and that kiss between those two lesbians, especially the ginger one,” said Silvester.

“Lesbians usually lead to hotter weather, so that would explain why there was a heatwave in 1995.”

“It could also explain why they get such hot weather in Australia, because some of those ‘sheilas’ in the outback are quite butch,” he laughed.

“But on a serious note, in places where there are no gays like Saudi Arabia or China, they tend to have very good weather, and we could all learn a lesson from that.

"I have nothing against the gays, but when I think of what they get up to, I just can't help but worry abut the effect it is going to have on our delicate climate and ecosystem."

Silvester's predictions this week made headlines after he blamed the recent floods which have blighted Britain on plans to legalise gay marriage in the Uk in March.

He said although his theories have sparked fierce criticism he holds fast to the belief that listening to Kylie and watching Judy Garland films is somehow linked to the jet stream.

He said: “You only have to look at that bit where Dorothy is carried off by a big curly swirly storm to know there is something to all this.

“If she hadn’t put on those camp red shoes she could have been spared a lot of trouble, and that green witch wouldn’t have been able to steal her dog.”

Silvester said the weather in his constituency of South Oxfordshire took a turn for the worse when two lesbians entered a jam making competition at the village hall.

He said: “It was all going well until they turned up.

“Suddenly the sky clouded over and the heavens opened. There had been warnings of heavy rain that day but I believe the experts were taking a lucky guess.

“It wasn’t until those two ‘ladies’ arrived that all hell broke loose - what more proof do you need?

“Thank goodness we got them to leave, it cleared up after that. I have nothing agains the gays, I just think they do themselves no favours.”

Silvester has, until now kept his talent for predicting the weather under his belt, but felt the need to speak out after the recent floods.

In a glimmer of good news he said the shift in the weather is not permanent, and can be easily put right if gay men ‘man up’ and lesbians start wearing ‘pretty dresses’.

He added: “I am glad I have come out about all this, as I feel I have something unique to share.

“I don’t have anything against gay people, I just wish they would stop messing about with our weather.”

Saturday, 7 December 2013

BREAKING: Environment Agency updates flood situation after the worst tidal surge in more than 60 years

The Environment Agency is lifting flood warnings following the most serious tidal surge in more than 60 years.
The surge, which saw around 1,400 properties flooded, resulted in record sea levels, which in places were higher than those seen during the devastating floods of January 1953.
Dr Paul Leinster, Environment Agency Chief Executive, said: “Our thoughts remain with those people who have been affected by flooding. 

"People can find advice on how to recover from a flood on our website or by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
“We continue to work with our partners to review the impact of flooding and to ensure that damage to flood walls and banks is repaired as soon as possible.
“Our staff, partners and the emergency services have worked tirelessly to issue warnings, ensure that flood risk management assets were in place and move people to safety. Without their efforts the impacts of this storm could have been far worse.
“Over the last three days we issued an unprecedented number of severe flood warnings. These early warnings gave emergency services, homes and businesses vital time to prepare.”
The Environment Agency sent more than 160,000 warnings to homes and businesses. 

Almost 3,000 kilometres of flood walls, banks and other flood risk management assets along the English coast and estuaries have protected more than 800,000 properties from flooding.

Environment Agency teams and contractors will remain out on the ground over the coming days to inspect and repair damaged sections of walls, banks and other assets. 

These teams have received military support for the most urgent repairs.
The number of flood warnings continues to reduce. 

A small number of alerts and warnings remain in place where damage to flood risk management mean an increased risk of flooding. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

BREAKING: Environment Agency warns of "most serious coastal tidal surge for over 30 years".

Communities along the length of the east coast of England should be braced for the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 30 years.
The Environment Agency and Met Office are warning that gale-force winds, large waves and a tidal surge caused by low pressure will combine with high tides tomorrow (Thursday), throughout Friday and to Saturday morning, bringing a risk of significant coastal flooding.
In some places, sea levels could be as high as those during the devastating floods of 1953. However, flood defences built since then – including the Thames, Deptford and Hull Barriers – mean that many parts of the country are much better protected than in 1953.
The Environment Agency recently issued a severe flood warning – its highest category – to homes and businesses near The Quay in Sandwich, Kent, for high tides at 00:43 and 13:06 on Friday. At present, there are also 16 flood warnings and 52 flood alerts in place.
Areas most at risk include the North Sea coast from Northumberland down to the Thames Estuary and Kent.
The tidal reaches of the River Trent, Nottinghamshire, could also be affected.
And on the west coast, from Cumbria down to Cheshire, severe gales and large waves combined with high water levels are also expected tomorrow (Thursday).
The Environment Agency will be closing the Thames Barrier on Thursday night to defend London, in addition to operating other defences including those at Colne in Essex and Hull.
Natural Resources Wales, the organisation which leads on flooding in Wales, is urging people along the north Wales coast between eastern Anglesey and Liverpool to be prepared for flooding on Thursday.
Dr Paul Leinster, Environment Agency Chief Executive, said: “Gale force winds and large waves along the east coast of England are forecast during Thursday and Friday, coinciding with high tides and a significant coastal surge.
“Flooding of some coastal communities is expected and some defences could be overtopped by the combined effect of high tides, high winds and a tidal surge.
“Coastal paths and promenades will be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of people being swept out to sea.
“The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the emergency services, Met Office and local authorities. Environment Agency teams are out on the ground checking that flood defences and barriers are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and issuing flood warnings.
“People should check the Environment Agency website or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood outlook, and to sign up to receive free flood warnings.”