What we ate in April

Read our weekly food trends update to discover right-now ingredients, fun foodie events, Instagramable restaurant dishes, exciting street eats and exactly what you should be eating to stay ahead.

 

Our new-look magazine

We celebrated the launch of our bigger, brighter, better-than-ever magazine in style with a pop-up at Carousel. At the helm in the kitchen was none other than the BBC Good Food Cookery Hub. Each member served a different course, from an edible Instagram post of #avocadotoast as canapés, to CFC (Chelsie’s Fried Chicken), wild garlic-stuffed lamb with crispy sweetbreads and dukkah whole roast cauliflower. Cake queen Cassie dedicated dessert to this year’s hot baking trend and our cover star for May – the modern éclair.
 

Palm sugar ice cream

This week we ordered a Thai take on a banana split from the pudding menu at som saa. Palm sugar gave the ice cream a rich caramel flavour, which was teamed with a slightly savoury, nutty sesame bite from the grilled banana. The combination gave that moreish balance of sweet, salty and savoury that we love so much. Could we have a new salted caramel on our hands?

 

Posh toasties

With grilled cheese restaurants popping up in London, and a kimchi & Stilton toastie on the menu at Freddie Janssen’s Pickled book launch earlier in the month, it appears that fancy toasties are very much in vogue. This week we tried The Macbeth from Deeneys – a rib-sticking blend of hot haggis, cheddar, caramelised onions and rocket. Vegetarians need not miss out - Deeneys' Lady Macbeth features veggie haggis. 

 

Beer vinegar

Fish and chip lovers, rejoice – we’ve found the perfect partner to a chip-shop supper. Italian artisan producer, Acetaia San Giacomo in Emilia-Romagna, takes a locally made craft beer and very slowly oxidises it without applying any heat, meaning the vinegar tastes of hoppy, malty beer rather than being sharp and eye-watering. We picked ours up in our local M&S and will be using it in stews, shaking it over green veg and popping a drop in batters. Alternatively, crack open a cold one and serve alongside some fried bar snacks to get the Bank Holiday weekend started. Cheers!

 

 

Yuzu

We’ve seen this Asian citrus soar in popularity recently, popping up on trendy restaurant menus in all sorts of dishes, both sweet and savoury. The bumpy-skinned fruit looks like a cross between a lemon and a mandarin and has a sharp–sweet taste with intensely floral notes. We tried this dessert of yuzu curd with aerated white chocolate pieces, toasted meringue and a biscuit crumble by head chef Adam Handling at Caxton.

 

 

Vietnamese coffee

This week, we were in Hanoi taking in a good, strong hit of coffee topped with silky smooth whipped egg yolk. Called ca phe trung da, it's one of the many ways to drink coffee in the Vietnamese capital. The coffee culture, like much of the country's cuisine, has been heavily influenced by its many years as a French colony. We discovered this luxurious drink (which cost less than £1) at Cafe Pho Co, a hidden rooftop coffee house, overlooking the city's Hoan Kiem lake.

 

Cauliflower cheese bread

Two classic comfort foods – cauliflower cheese and crusty bread – combined into one flavoursome loaf. Blitzed cauliflower and grated mature cheese are kneaded into the dough, adding texture and a delicious tang throughout, with extra cheese sprinkled on top for good measure. The result is an almost flaky, rustic loaf – ideal for ripping into chunks and dunking in hot soup. We’ll definitely be stocking up as soon as this product hits Waitrose shelves.

 

Our one year anniversary!

It's official – our weekly food diary is one year old! We've been looking back through the archive at all the exciting food trends we've discovered over the last 12 months. We've sampled global sensations like Sri Lankan hoppers and Nikkei cuisine, sipped on savoury cocktails, created a supersized 36-egg shakshuka and nibbled on mochi, matcha, mangalitsa and more. We've documented it every step of the way to bring you the best, bang-on-trend, exciting eats out there, so join us in reminiscing over the last 12 months in food.

 

Cheese & British charcuterie

Big appetites and lovers of bold flavours only need apply for this one. This week we learnt how to match cheese with charcuterie with a little help from cured meat specialists Cannon & Cannon and artisan dairy purveyors Paxton & Whitfield. Flavour combinations included creamy blue Beauvale with a rich blood, cocoa and red wine salami and a creamy, delicate Windrush goat's cheese with a sweet, air dried pork loin. All Cannon & Cannon products are sourced from independent UK producers, so if you want to know more about the burgeoning British charcuterie scene, their online selection is a good place to start... 

 

Tuna with nori

The seaweed trend continues apace, and this time it's been magically conjured into burger form across the pond in Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Austin, Texas. A perfectly spherical piece of seared ahi tuna piled up with crispy nori chips, honey wasabi sauce, pickled ginger and pea shoots, stacked in a brioche bun with sweet white onion and tomatoes – we're struggling to think of a snazzier ocean catch.

 

Wild garlic

The wild garlic season is short so we’re snapping it up while we can. Easy to identify, delicious and prolific – perfect fodder for a budding forager. Pungent when eaten raw, the leaves mellow with cooking, lending a delicious depth and vibrant green hue to dishes. We whizzed ours into pesto and used it to stuff a loin of pork for a seasonal spin on our usual Sunday roast. Check out that super crispy crackling!

 

 

Sorrel aioli

Sorrel comes into season in April, and its fresh, lemony flavour makes a perfect pairing to rich dishes. We tried it incorporated into aioli, served elegantly in a shell with tempura oyster at our very own Rosie Birkett's pop up at J Sheekey Oyster Bar. A harmonious balance of flavours, with a citrus kick to cut through the tempura batter. 

 

 

Hedgerow foraging

Who needs the supermarket when you’ve got the great outdoors? Food editor-at-large and keen forager Barney took a trip to Wales this week, and picked this beautiful floral salad mix. Along with wild garlic shoots, he served up fresh primrose flowers, known for their subtly sweet taste, and wall pennywort leaves, adding a succulent, crisp texture.

 

Kombucha 

Never heard of kombucha? We bet you will soon. This fizzy, fermented tea has already taken off in a big way in the US, and is set to soar in popularity on British soil too. Made using a less-than-appetising sounding symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (or ‘scoby’), the taste is actually very appealing, with a delicate balance of sour and sweet. We sampled this ginger-infused flavour from Equinox Kombucha, served at raw restaurant Nama in Notting Hill.

 

Temaki

We love sushi, but this clever twist on a classic from Sosharu has us in a spin. Not your usual cone of seaweed, this tuna, spring onion, tobiko and sushi rice ‘temaki’ with mini bottle of spiced mayo is like a taco in shape. We loved its amazing crunchy yet pliable texture thanks to some stealthy deep frying.

 

 

 

Missed the last food diary? Visit our 12 month compilation to get fully up to speed... 

One year of food trends

 

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