With each new year, comes new trends in the foodie world; from fine dining restaurants to gastropubs, catering companies, cafes and recipe books. Often and particularly today, the world seems fascinated with ‘health’ foods and ‘superfoods’ and trends focus on these. That said there is always a naughty treat or two hiding somewhere and don’t we all need one of those now and again! I know I do!
With my background in catering and hotels and having a serious love of food myself (I blame my Nan, she used to be a chef and her food is really quite the best…she also makes the most divine cakes, that’s for another time though!) I pay attention to what everyone is and will be eating in the future. So, let’s see what’s in store for us this year.
This isn’t exactly a new trend, however, there seems to be a real focus on food that is low in sugar and particularly refined sugar. So, does that mean no sweet treats at all!? Far from actually; our love of cakes, sweets and even fruit juices will always exist, we just need to find different ways of enjoying them without using unnecessary and excessive quantities of sugar. Supermarkets are slowly taking notice and reducing sugar quantities and food bloggers and chefs are using alternatives to make our sweet treats just that little bit healthier; think agave syrup or avocado and bananas in brownies. Dates are another heaven-sent gift and I often pop them in my cakes when baking…also in my porridge and use coconut chunks and cinnamon with a drizzle of honey. Delicious!
The raw food trend links heavily with a couple of other foodie buzz words, Vegan and pre-biotic. Raw food salads are a great way of getting your 5 a day and by not being cooked, your body is having to work that little bit harder to break down the goodies that aren’t fried by the heat! Raw foods don’t only mean veg though. Ceviche and Poke are based on raw fish dishes, marinated to act a s a cooking process and are incredibly fresh, vibrant and utterly tasty. Have you tried these before? I certainly hadn’t heard much about them until recently, but with new trends comes new cuisines and these far-flung dishes are popping up in new restaurants around the country.
Veganism is very much playing on peoples minds currently; as we start to eat more ethically and sufficiently, more and more people are turning to the vegan world. If not completely then dishes and foodie inspiration have definitely been taken from vegan ideas. Now I do love a steak and actually a decent piece of sustainable fish too much to contemplate becoming a Vegan full time, but I did consider Veganuary and perhaps may participate fully next year. Our bodies certainly don’t need meat all the time and not as much as we consume it. That said, when we do eat it, and everyone can make up their own mind, I’m not saying there is a right or wrong, it would be nice to choose ethically, organically and sustainably. I do think the world is becoming savvy to feeding us in this way and restaurants are certainly more aware, which I hope continues and only improves. My downfall however is cheese, I’m just not sure I can do without this. Anyone else with me!?!
Turmeric and Spices
My old friend Turmeric! I have not just jumped on this bandwagon but encourage everyone else to. Not only with Turmeric, but experiment with other spices too; it will really open up a whole world of flavour to you. Hello yummy dishes packed with flavour. I have been using Turmeric for a number of years, I have turmeric tea (Pukka do a version which I highly recommend), add it to curries and soups and have recently started making Turmeric lattes; I use almond or coconut milk due to trying to drink less dairy, but cows milk works just as well. Add a little honey and cinnamon, ginger too for an extra kick and to sweeten it up. Turmeric has so many uses and is a real love of mine. It is said to help as an anti-inflammatory, help with sleep, stress and anxiety and I know it has certainly helped me with those ailments. Of all the trends, this is certainly one to try and keep in my opinion.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of pre and pro biotics, well the focus seems to have shifted a little from pro to pre. Pro biotics promote good gut health and are based on living bacteria, which fermented foods (see below) are key to. The wider foodie world seems to have picked up the fact that as well as pro you need a bit of pre, to make sure you and your body are prepared for all that good bacteria. Pre-biotics are largely found in raw veg and fruit, so a raw food-based salad for lunch will keep you on top of your pre-biotics and prepare for a bit of pro-biotic love.
Part of that pro-biotic love can be found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. As well as finding them in supermarkets, you can make these relatively easy at home. Packed with amazing good bacteria, they will help promote good gut health, which in turn will help with digestion, energy and should help with any bloating you may have experienced. I adore red cabbage as a base and find this seems to work better and taste better than a lighter coloured cabbage for example. This along with turmeric and caraway seeds are your tummy’s friends and I have no doubt you will feel the benefits of these little superstars.
Not only to be found in sushi or a Chinese take away, this absolute nutrient packed little wonder food is super yummy. You could try adding it to a salad base as another leaf or add it to miso soups, which I am a big fan of. These are great for lunch or even as a snack or starter, light and super nutritious.
Root To Leaf
As well as becoming more aware of ethical cooking and usage of food and ingredients, chefs are working with the principal of minimal wastage. By trying to use every bit of the plant or animal as they can, they are minimising wastage and creating some rather delicious dishes along the way. This not only reduces impact upon the environment, it just makes a whole lot of sense. Along with using seasonal ingredients, chefs are trying as much as possible to stay local and if they can, growing their own. Again, not only does this help the environment, when food and animals are grown locally and in the right season, they taste a whole lot better.
Cooking On Coals
This isn’t one for the faint hearted and what is that saying, if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen. This is BBQ to the extreme or serious cave man cooking. From eating out at various restaurants over the past year, I have noticed that more and more seem to be cooking on open fires and with coals. Impressive! Not only is the heat harder to control, but the cooking is harder to control too. But boy is it worth it! The results and the dishes created are not only bursting with flavour, they are seriously impressive, and I personally love a charred vegetable or too, the flavours seem so much stronger and I do love a bold flavour combination. One of my favourite places is The Mash Inn near to Radnage, Bucks and I adore Nancarrow Farm in Cornwall – so worth checking out!
I couldn’t leave a tipple or two out could I! I’m certainly a fan of the cocktail and I’m so pleased to see that herbal and savoury cocktails are well and truly at the fore of mixology. The hotel I work for specialise in herbal cocktails and we use herbs grown in our gardens. I love seasonal ingredients and paired with herbs, the flavours mixed with the spirits deserve a round of applause. They certainly set the mood and are great as an aperitif or if you fancy being bold, a staple drink for the evening. Make mine a grapefruit and rosemary gimlet please!
With a background in hospitality, property and weddings, I now find myself living and working in one of the most beautiful parts of the country; The Cotswolds. I have a passion for all things wedding, interior design, food, fashion, floral and rural and my love of the countryside inspires everything I do.
A former wedding planner and stylist for an event and catering company, I now work as a manager within a luxury, boutique hotel. I also still participate regularly in helping to plan, coordinate weddings and photo shoots and have recently started Daphne & George, where I can bring all of my inspiration together.