The most expensive ingredients in the World

14 05 2012

After my recent move into the new house some people have started to wonder whether I haven’t developed ideas above my station.

Well just to cast aside all doubt here is a quick round-up of some of the most expensive ingredients in the World…

Saffron – $1,000/lb

A classic contender for World’s most expensive ingredient. Saffron is the dried stigma of the cunningly named “Saffron Crocus” or Crocus sativus to give it’s proper name.

For anyone who is wondering why some dried pieces of a flower are so expensive have a look below at what wikipedia has to say…

“To glean an amount of dry saffron weighing 1 lb (450 g) is to harvest 50,000–75,000 flowers, the equivalent of an association football pitch‘s area of cultivation; 110,000–170,000 flowers or two football fields are needed to gross one kilogram. Forty hours of labour are needed to pick 150,000 flowers. Stigmas are dried quickly upon extraction and (preferably) sealed in airtight containers.

Saffron prices at wholesale and retail rates range from US$500 to US$5,000 per pound, or US$1,100–11,000/kg, equivalent to £2,500/€3,500 per pound or £5,500/€7,500 per kilogram. The price in Canada recently rose to CAD 18,000 per kilogram. In Western countries, the average retail price is $1,000/£500/€700 per pound, or US$2,200/£1,100/€1,550 per kilogram. A pound contains between 70,000 and 200,000 threads.”

White Truffles: $ 14,000/kg

Another long time heavy weight of the culinary World, white truffles have long been sought after by discerning gourmets for their earthy taste and pungent fragrance.

Native to the Piedmont region of Northern Italy although they can also be found in parts of Croatia. White truffles are the rarest and most costly of all the various species of truffle and as such carry the biggest price tag, the highest price ever paid for a single truffle was set in December 2007, when Macau casino owner Stanley Ho paid 330,000 USD (£165,000) for a specimen weighing 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb), discovered by Luciano Savini and his dog Rocco.

Bit different from paying 99 pence for a kilo of button mushrooms in Tesco!

Edible gold: $90-100/gram

Though gold has no nutritional value, 24k gold is perfectly edible and adds a luxurious and beautiful decoration to dishes and drinks.

Edible gold leaf is popular in cake decorating and for adding a bit of flair to certain cocktails. The metal apparently passes directly through the body unaltered, not sure I would want to try and retrieve it though!

 Ass (Donkey) Cheese $700/lb.

Home to 100 Balkan donkeys, the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve along the Zasavica River produces a smoked donkey’s milk cheese that they call “Pule.”

They justify the obscene price of the cheese by quoting the rarity and  value of the milk used…Not sure I would want ass milk either to be quite honest!

 

 Hop Shoots $1300/lb

Hop shoots are funnily enough the young shoots of the hop bine, yes bine not vine.

Hop shoots are only available between January and mid April. Because of the short period of availability, labour intensive cultivation and low yields hop shoots often rank as the most expensive vegetable in the World!

 

 

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Chicken and Chorizo Paella

29 03 2010

Last Saturday we had a Spring party, there were a bunch of people coming over and I didn’t want to be tied to the oven anymore than I had to be.

So I was wrecking my head trying to work out what I could cook that would be nice and easy on my time and yet seem sufficiently fancy…. and here it is:

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Serves 4-6 people depending on levels of greed 🙂

5 or so chicken breasts or large thighs that have been de-boned

200g of good cooked chorizo

300g of paella rice (if you can’t get paella rice use Arborio)

1 stick of celery

1 1/2 large white onions, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic

2 tomatoes de-seeded and chopped

3 large red peppers

1 small red chilli, de-seeded and very finely chopped

a large handful of peas

1 large lemon

Chicken stock

Saffron

Smokey Paprika

Olive oil

Method

Heat the olive oil in a hot pan and add the chicken cut up into small cubes, add in 2 tsp of the smokey paprika and make sure that all of the chicken is well coated in it.

Once the chicken is brown on all sides put it in a low oven on a baking tray until you need it later on.

Add the saffron to your hot chicken stock and leave it to infuse

Turn the heat on the pan down to medium and put the chorizo in

Once the Chorizo has started to brown and go crisp you can add in the onions, garlic and celery and cook until the onions are just starting to soften.

Once the onions have softened you can add in the rice, the chopped red peppers, the chopped tomatoes, the chopped chili, half of the stock and 2 tsp of the paprika.

You now need to leave the dish on the heat for roughly 15- 20 minutes giving it all a stir every few minutes or so.

After this time the rice should just about be cooked, you can now add in the peas, the juice and zest of the lemon and the remainder of the stock, cook until most of the stock has been absorbed.

Once the stock has been absorbed you can add the chicken back into the dish and serve with lemon segments, a simple salad and some crusty bread








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