New Trends in Food 2014

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It’s a hugely exciting time to be in food. Farmers are more optimistic about the future than they have been in years and a high percentage of start-up businesses are food related.

There’s innovation at every level so it’s fun to ponder on emerging food trends in different sectors. For dedicated food trend spotters it’s always worth studying what’s hot in the US and UK because much of that will be coming our way in the not too distant future. It used to take 4 – 5 years but in the current techie age all that has speeded up considerably.

In the US, according to Conagra Foods 62% of consumers want to support companies that have ethical policies and donate to important social causes.

Customers are fast becoming more educated about supermarket practices and products, they want more sustainable packaging and less plastic wrapping, so we’re beginning to see the use of new technology to create edible wrappers.

Online shopping and apps appear to be a strong trend for the future with many consumers, deciding what they will cook for supper by browsing for recipes on their smart phones.

On the other hand there is a definite small shop revival in many cities – a counter reaction to the super convenient increasingly impersonal shopping experience.

There is a growing realisation that the 24/7 snacking habit is here to stay. According to Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert there are lots of opportunities to capitalise on that by supplying ‘better for you’ and ‘on the go’ options.

Food waste continues to be an issue but using up leftovers making the most of lesser known fish and cuts of meat has never been so trendy.

As allergies and food intolerances continue to rise ‘Free From’ foods gain more and more shelf space and create opportunities for food entrepreneurs.

Every year there seems to be a new super food, 2013 it was kale – so what’s coming up? Some predict the humble cauliflower and kohlrabi, I certainly saw lots of cardoons on fancy restaurant menus in the US last year.

Ancient beans and grains like freekeh, faro, teff and the humble pearl barley are definitely causing renewed excitement. We’ll see even more adventurous use of spices, chilli and exotic flavourings in home kitchens not just to jazz up increasingly bland ingredients but for their health benefits – turmeric for example has antibacterial properties and is a powerful antioxidant.

Tea has been predicted to be the new coffee for quite some time now but it’s been slow in coming however things are hotting up. Starbucks have joined forces with Teavana in the US to open the first Tea Bar in New York. Check out The Tea Shop on MacCurtain Street in Cork City which offers Ireland’s biggest selection of loose leaf teas and the Palais des Thés on 31 Wicklow Street in Dublin.

The cronut, Dominique Ansel’s cross between a croissant and a donut was the hottest food item in New York last year and they’re still queuing around the corner of Spring Street.

Ramen Shops popped up everywhere and now at last we have a Ramen restaurant in Cork on 21 Angelsea Street (021) 4317116.

We’re slurping noodles in every shape and form. They are hot and getting hotter.  Check out Koya Udon noodle restaurant on 49 Frith Street in London.

Burgers continue to endure but the ones that are making waves are boasting higher fat and better provenance. 2013 was the year of the innovative bun, lots of new twists and flavours and even brioche. The big success story in the fast food area in the US was Wendys Bacon Cheeseburger on a Pretzel bun.

Our love affair with bacon continues but now for top chefs and cooks it’s about house-cured bacon, hams, sausages and salami.

Fermenting and pickling continues to excite both cooks and diners. Home smoking is a growing trend. Top restaurants are seeking out hand-made, traditional and cultured butter and cream. Artisan and local foods are still very strong, sustainable fish and home-made or as they say in the US house-made ice cream, granitas and sorbets made with seasonal ingredients.

Vegetables are gradually edging their way to the centre stage. Vegan is becoming more main stream and we will see more veggie dishes in non-vegetarian restaurants. The Grain Store in London continues to cause a stir and we’re noticing more salads as an art form.

Small plates, sharing dishes, and small plate desserts are huge hit with restaurant customers.

Top chefs are growing their own on rooftops and balconies and more chefs own their own farms, and are employing foragers and are incorporating seasonal wild foods into their menus. Supermarkets like Wholefoods in the US are putting vegetable gardens and tunnels on their roofs.

The Dim Sum concept is being adapted with considerable success in many restaurants.

The Nordic Food Movement continues to inspire.

One Food Wonders or Single Item restaurants seem to be an enduring trend, not just burgers but chicken, pork, polenta, mozzarella, potatoes…

The interest in hand-made and craft items, farmhouse cheeses and artisan foods endures and there’s a renewed interest in ‘ethnic’ cheeses, queso fresco, halloumi, paneer, heirloom varieties of tomatoes, speciality salt, urban honey, raw honey.  Leaves, banana, taro, kaffir lime leaves. At a recent meal that I enjoyed Fäviken in Sweden Magnus Nielson steamed potatoes in Autumn leaves.

New ethnic flavours continue to excite, the sales of Sriracha, the Thai hot sauce are catching up on ketchup.

There’s also huge excitement in the drinks area – craft brewers and micro distillers are popping up everywhere. Chefs are making house-made lemonade, sodas, bitters, ratafias…Natural wines are exploding – orange wine is a cult. Cocktails and mocktails and liqueurs are ever more exciting and inventive and there’s lots more but I’ve run out of space.

 

Ottolenghi’s Bulgur and Cauliflower Tabouleh with Red Onion, Pomegranate and Sweet Spices

 

Serves 4

 

600g (1 1/4 lb) cauliflower florets (1 large or 2 medium heads)

240g (8 3/4 ozs) fine bulgur, soaked in 500ml (18fl oz) of boiling water for 10 minutes, then squeezed dry

4 celery sticks, finely sliced at an angle

1 red onion, finely sliced

80g (3 ozs) whole almonds, lightly toasted and roughly broken

a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley

seeds from 1 pomegranate

 

Dressing

 

4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons caster sugar

100ml (3 1/2 fl ozs) olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and black pepper

 

Preheat the oven 190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5.

 

Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper, and roast for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and just tender; set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well and set aside for 5 minutes.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and arrange on a plate. Spoon the dressing on top and serve.

 

Rachel Allen’s Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata

 

Gremolata is an Italian condiment made from a mixture of garlic, parsley and lemon peel that is traditionally served with braised veal but is equally at home sprinkled over fish and provides a lovely tangy foil to roasted cauliflower, as here. By roasting cauliflower the florets take on a charred crispness while the flesh remains soft and yielding.

Serves 4–6

 

2 cauliflowers, cut into florets

110ml (4fl oz) olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the Gremolata

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

4 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2 tsp olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl and mix with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until the cauliflower is tender and just browned at the edges.

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the gremolata by simply mixing all the ingredients together and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. When the cauliflower is cooked, lightly mix with the gremolata and serve.

Ottolenghi’s Kohlrabi and White Cabbage Slaw with Lemon Zest, Tarragon, Dill and Sesame Seeds

 

Serves 4

 

1 kohlrabi bulb (300g/10 1/2oz)

200g (7 ozs) white cabbage

30g (1 1/4 oz) parsley, chopped

30g (1 1/4 oz) dill, chopped

30g (1 1/4 oz) tarragon, chopped

70g (2 3/4 oz) dried cranberries

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

120ml (3 3/4ml) lemon juice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

60ml (2 1/2 fl ozs) olive oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

salt and black pepper

 

Peel the kohlrabi, slice thinly and cut into matchsticks. Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible.

Place together in a mixing bowl all of the ingredient, mix well, taste and add salt and pepper accordingly.

 

Smoked Gubbeen and Pearl Barley Salad with Toasted Almonds, Apple and Pomegranate Seeds

 

Pearl Barley is inexpensive and fantastically nourishing – lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals – some varieties are also high in Lysine.  In tandem with other grains it’s having a revival of interest in gastronomic circles.  We also use it for pilaffs and to add to Winter stews as casserole like our Granny’s did!

 

Serves 4-8

 

6 1/2oz (165g) pearl barley

1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) water

1 teaspoon salt

2 dessert apples, Cox’s orange or Gala, cored and diced

freshly squeezed lemon juice of 1 lemon

seeds from 1/2-1 pomegranate, depending on size

2 1/2oz (65g) halved toasted almonds

coarsely chopped diced smoked Gubbeen cheese

 

Dressing

125ml (4fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Forum Chardonnay vinegar or cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Flat parsley leaves

 

Put the pearl barley and water into a saucepan and add salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

 

Drain very well. Whisk the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar and crushed garlic together, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss while still warm. Spread out to cool.

 

Meanwhile, quarter and dice the apple. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top, and add the pomegranate seeds, well toasted almonds and diced smoked Gubbeen cheese. Add the remainder of the dressing. Toss gently and combine with the pearl barley. Taste and correct the seasoning. Transfer to a serving dish and allow the flavours to meld for an hour or so. Scatter with flat parsley leaves and serve.

 

Hottips

 

Fermented and Cultured Foods hands-on course on Sunday 23rd February at The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim  with Hans and Gaby Wieland. Cultured foods are “superfoods” celebrated around the world for their health benefits  (digestive tonics, probiotic, antioxidant rich). They are delicious and easy to create.  Among the recipes covered on this course are Kombucha (fermented tea), Sauerkraut (lacto fermented cabbage), Kim-chee (Korean fermented vegetables), Kefir (fermented dairy drink), Rejuvelac (fermented grains). Lots of tastings and sources for the various cultures will be given. €65.00 – www.theorganiccentre.ie

 

East Cork Slow Food event – Celebrate St Brigid, Irish Patron Saint of Dairy on Thursday January 30th 2014. Eileen Cowhig will show us how to make St Brigid’s crosses from local rushes at the Ballymaloe Cookery School at 7pm. Tickets €8.00. €6.00 for Slow Food Members. Coffee and a homemade biscuit from 6.30pm. Enquiries 021 4646785.

 

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

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