God help us if Carob makes a comeback in 2021. The chocolate alternative of the 70's and 80's that tasted horrible and traumatised a generation. My first restaurant business (in 1982) was The Chalice Vegetarian and Wholefood Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds and the one ingredient that I hated was Carob. Despite my numerous hippy recipe books and an eclectic and colourful team of cooks, including many well travelled Sannyasins from Medina Rajneesh, you'd never find me with a Carob Drink or Carob Shortcake Biscuit in my hand. Carob may be naturally sweet and cocoa coloured but it's no replacement for the real thing. No doubt the shift towards plant-based and health conscious foods will drive this trend. Expect to find it in nut butters, sweet treats and drinks. Being high in antioxidants, calcium, fibre, iron and protein and low in fat and sodium, Carob is sure to be the next superfood. But it's not chocolate.
(photo taken from my Eva Batt Vegan Cookery, co-published with the Vegan Society. 1985. And no, we didn't bake these)
So are pork chops on trend? As beef prices rise more restaurants have begun to feature premium cuts of pork on their menus. I enjoyed a very tasty Bertha cooked Blythburgh pork T-bone at The Oaksmere near Brome the other day. Also on the menu a pork chuck for two and some very tempting dry aged beef.
The effects of lockdown have torn through the food industry like a tornado. Food businesses forced to close, with many restaurants staying open for takeaway and every day another business re-opening to dip it's toe into the online-delivery-takeaway market. Suppliers normally serving the trade have had to diversify and react swiftly, some offering online orders and deliveries to the public. Pubs have become community shops. Corner shops have kept us supplied with the store cupboard basics. Store cupboards have determined the dishes we can cook to nourish ourselves and our families. While chefs live stream cookery demo's from their kitchens, the niche social media experts have had to guard their territory as the stay at home population bombard us with their own sourdough, banana bread and brownie recipes. Farm shops providing deliveries, micro breweries and wineries setting up drive thru's there never has been a more challenging time to source food. The crisis has provided an opportunity to drive innovation and now is the time for us to support the independent producers who are working so hard to stay afloat. However, it's also the time for the service industries to keep in touch with their clientele, monitor consumer behaviour and continue to innovate, so that when the race back to reality begins, they're revved up and in pole position. Here's a photo gallery of some of East Anglia's innovative businesses and suppliers that I have used and that are providing top quality service and produce . You'll find plenty more if you check the many social media streams regularly. For Bury St Edmunds folk David Stapleton has created a simple and free web app directory of businesses open.
- Brays Cottage pork pie. Send a pie for a pressie.
- Jolly Asparagus has found outlets for a crop which would generally go to the restaurant industry. Snap it up at Hillcrest Nursery Stanton and Woosters Bakery (main picture)
- Watch Justin from Pea Porridge Restaurant in Bury via Instagram. Masterclasses and the weekly 'clash' with a local Chef
- Slate provisions and deli can send you a selection of cheese in the post. My British selection which arrived last week.
- Flour a problem? I got a sack from Thomas Ridley at Rougham. No account required, log in on their website as a guest.
- Woosters Bakery. Online ordering and collection from Bardwell, Bury, Wyken market.
- Brewshed Brewery pop up at The Cadogan. Ingham. Order a mini keg or take your own container for filling.
- Baron Bigod to order online from Fen Farm Dairy. Bungay
- Beerhouse pop up. Social distancing and well organised.
- Brays Cottage Pork Pie - big family size to order online.
- Order a pizza from Lucy's at Fornham St Martin. Must be pre-ordered and a time slot will be allocated. Book early - it's popular
If only you had a crystal ball. This is what ours is telling us will be on trend for 2019. In no particular order ...
Chilled red wines- unoaked, lighter bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Cabernet Franc from the Loire and Tempranillo's. We know that reds don't always have to be served at room temperature so this year expect to find more restaurants offering to chill your red wine, especially if we get another heatwave summer.
Gazoz- with the ever growing interest in things fermented and botanicals, Gazoz (main picture) is an Israeli soda based drink, made with natural fruit syrups (often from fermented fruits) fresh fruits, botanical infusions and herbs topped up with fizzy water. It's going to be this years addition to the increasingly popular shrubs and drinking vinegars of 2018. Find it on the menu at Bala Baya.Southwark. London.
Rum- Gin might be left on the shelf in favour of rum, which we are very happy about being part Caribbean foodies. White, gold, flavoured, spiced, dark, premium and overproof, there is no single standard and it's no longer the sole preserve of sailors and pirates. Want to know more? Follow Ian Burrell our favourite Rum Ambassador or try a Rum Masterclass at Cottons. We must go again!
Afro-Caribbean- well this is rather a broad area in terms of food and drink. The rise of North and West African cuisine is now well established. Mr SuffolkFoodie is from Durban so we are pinning our hopes on seeing more from South Africa, heavily influenced by the fruity and full bodied flavours of Cape Malay cuisine along with the French and Dutch influence of the European settlers. (Keep an eye out in the recipe book for our own family recipes). As for Caribbean cuisine look out for Rastafarian Ital cooking which is natural, plant based and organic. Plantains will feature too, we're getting bored with avocadoes and cauliflowers, plantains make great snacks. Tostones will be in!
Lard - the big fat comeback. Butter prices have gone through the roof and restaurants are looking at keeping menus affordable and innovative. The Italians love it and it's a mainstay of Mexican cooking and it's not as bad for you as you thought. Love a lardy cake don't you? Get barding and larding everyone.
Sardines- healthy, sustainable, delicious and affordable. One of our favourites and used in many types of cuisine from around the world. From spiced and fried whole in Indian recipes to the delicious Pasta Con le Sarde of Sicily, proving that they are versatile too. Bring on summer for some more delicious Portugeuse sardines cooked over the open fire.
Breakfasts - using rise and shine orange and yellow food which is Instagrammable. We'll be eating food because it's photogenic and can be hashtagged 'feel good' or 'sunshine food'. So we are guessing mango, oranges, lemon curd, pumpkin, carrots, things with saffron and God forbid no more turmeric lattes.
Grocerants - grocery stores and deli's with sit down dining, ready to eat, ready to heat food. The type of place that you go to buy the components of a take away supper then think dammit, if I eat it here it will save me washing up.
Waste not want not - zero waste cooking with wonky veg and root to fruit dishes will stay in vogue and so will the meaty nose to tail eating we've enjoyed over the past few years. Fig leaves will be very popular, brussel sprouts are making a big comeback, look out for Kalettes, broccoli stems, radish tops and carrot tops. But let's make sure that it's tasty please?
Bread - it's back. More ancient grains, sprouted grains, cornbread and vegetable stuffed doughs. Apricot breakfast bread, potato, pumpkin and onion baguettes, flatbreads, Earl Grey teacakes. You name it we will be kneading it. Sorghum will be the grain of 2019. Cheerio quinoa!
- carrot tops not the nicest of ingredients in our opinion
- #feel good #sunshinefood
- Earl Grey teacakes anyone?
- Bobotie a South African classic. Recipe in our book.
- Rum - one of our favourites
Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire! Going Vegan was the biggest food trend for 2018 with more vegan products launched in the UK than in any other nation. It's going to mean more fake meat and processed food on the supermarket shelves and when cauliflower appears on the menu it's going to be called a steak. Eating plants is nothing new but now it seems we need the new experts ... vegetable butchers.
I drove last time darling ... it's simply not good enough to expect the designated driver to settle for a J2O or a can of coke, so I am beginning to rate my restaurants, pubs and cafes according to the drinks offered for drivers. Here are a few of the great drinks that I've been offered when driving this summer. Gigembre - ginger syrup, lime and soda. Ghost Ship (available from Adnams). Bee's Knee's Prosecco style fizz (available from Morrisons). Mint Sparkle- apple juice, elderflower cordial, soda water, mint leaves. Virgin Mary - tomato juice, Worcester sauce, tobasco. Shirley Temple - ginger ale, grenadine, orange juice. Homemade lemon barley water. Homemade ginger beer. Seedlip Garden - botanicals without the gin (available from Waitrose). Damson Spritz made with a homemade damson cordial. Fresh Red - Rooibos espresso, apple juice and a squueze of lime. Strawberry Cooler- strawberry, mint and lime. More ideas here.
Choux pastry desserts remain in vogue. Keep an eye out for striking and colourful eclairs, Paris Brest (a ring of choux pastry filled with a hazelnut or almond praline mousseline cream) and Religieuse (one small choux bun balanced on a larger choux bun, filled with a chocolate or mocha creme patissiere). You can order a Royal Wedding eclair from the 3 Michelin Starred chef Joakim Prat, artiste patissier at Maitre Choux. Or make your own, these are my banoffee filled salted caramel mini eclairs.
Appearing on menus at a fast pace, pineapples are set to outsell avocados as the latest fruit trend sets in. Dehydrate it, ferment it, crush it, or colada cake it like me.
Introducing the Bubblewrap Waffle, the pimped up Hong Kong sweet egg waffle that everyone wants. The business started on the streets with a stall at Berwick Street Market and now has queues of up to an hour outside their new shop in Wardour Street. Chinatown. Three flavours of waffle, six varieties of gelato, fourteen toppings and nine sauces to choose from. Here's a cheesy Winter Flame.
If you go to your local park and pick elderflowers it isn't foraging. If you go to your back garden and pick up some windfall apples, it isn't foraging. If you have a basil plant on your balcony, that isn't foraging either. Foraging for edible wild plants and all the new names for what we used to call weeds is OVER - time to stop.