What we ate in February
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.
In February we tried...
These moreish sweet treats have been a delicacy in Japan for hundreds of years, and they're now set to soar in popularity in Britain. After a short tasting session, we tried our hand at crafting our own mochi at an event at Shakfuyu in Soho for Tsuki Mochi. With a distinctive chewy outer layer and a smooth ganache filling, they make for a unique dessert. Made from pounded and sweetened rice flour, they're traditionally filled with a red bean paste, but Tsuki have added their own twist by creating a range of flavours, including sorbet and truffle.
As simple twists on brunch go, this is one is genius. Egg Break in Notting Hill spikes its hollandaise sauce with a few drops of sriracha, a tangy Thai chilli sauce that’s bang on trend. The poached eggs are perched on corncakes instead of muffins. Morning made.
An elegant afternoon tea without the towering cake stand – just a few exquisite sweet and savoury morsels along with exotic blends and tea-based cocktails. London’s Edition Hotel has revived an 18th century tradition known as ‘scandal water’, in which ladies of leisure would gather to exchange gossip. Flavour pairings are exciting and grown-up - the Japanese Sencha tea comes with miso-cured salmon & caviar and an English milk punch cocktail, which includes Cognac, Somerset cider brandy, Sencha tea, pineapple and milk. Choose three tea pairings, then the amount of gossip you add is up to you.
This week, we were invited to Tom Kerridge’s development kitchen in Marlow, just down the road from his Michelin-starred pub, The Hand and Flowers. To start, we supped on a beautiful parsley soup with Bramley apple, smoked eel & cheddar tortellini, topped with edible borage flowers and leaves which give a fresh, almost cucumber-like taste. The meaty pieces of eel provided a similar flavour to smoked bacon while having the flaky texture of fish. The Bramley apple was finely diced but uncooked, adding a crunchy texture and tart flavour.
We popped down to Carousel this week to celebrate the launch of four Vintage Books that are coming out this year: The New Vegetarian by Alice Hart, Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden, and cookbooks from 26 Grains and Ducksoup Soho. All four publications contributed food from the books, creating an irresistible and highly Instagrammable feast, including these simple but beautiful canapés of pickled beetroot atop caraway crackers with labneh and toasted buckwheat.
Creme & mini egg brownies
Why stick to one type of Easter egg when you can have two - and piled on top of brownies to boot? This week, we got into the spirit of spring at our photoshoot and snapped an abundance of Easter treats. We’re following the trend for trash–tastic baking by including as much colourful candy as we can pack on top of our Creme & mini egg brownies, and going super sweet with some bunny biscuits, topped with desiccated coconut to create fluffy fur. Recipes to come soon – watch this space!
Lemon posset with mint & liquorice
This week, we enjoyed dinner in a restaurant that deserves to be better known in food world. Sosban and The Old Butchers is a fine dining restaurant in Menai Bridge, on the isle of Anglesey in North Wales. Pale wood tables, quirky pottery, and slate serving dishes all add to the Scandi-chic feel. Chef and patron Stephen Stevens is fast collecting awards and surprising diners with a constantly changing, set tasting menu featuring creative flavour combinations, such as the pictured lemon posset with mint & liquorice pearls. More theatrical dishes included a 'risotto' of celeriac 'rice' with apple pearls and coffee seasoning, served under a cloche filled with apple smoke, followed by a bitter chocolate sphere, melted at the table by a hot caramel sauce. From March, they plan to extend their hours to cope with growing demand, and we can understand why.
Peanut butter ice cream
Homemade ice cream just got easier - introducing our peanut butter and burnt toffee ice cream. It's as easy as measuring out one jar each of double cream, single cream and peanut butter, as well as half a jar of sugar and some vanilla extract, then mixing into a thick and creamy smoothie. And as though that wasn't indulgent enough, we rippled through a dark butterscotch sauce after churning. The result? Intense, buttery and a bit like a posh Snickers ice cream - which, judging by how fast it disappeared, was no bad thing!
Thumbprint cookies might just be the sweetest (we're talking super cute, but the sugar levels are up there) cookies around. Any fan of Martha Stewart will be familiar with these jammy-centred biscuits, and they're now becoming increasingly popular in British baking books and on some of our favourite Instagram feeds. Most cookie recipes can be adapted to create this shape - simply roll the dough into a ball then squash it onto a baking tray with your thumb to create an impression, then fill the dip with any dregs of jam you have in your fridge. Our senior food editor Cassie used her three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe and filled the holes with raspberry jam to make PBJ thumbprint cookies. The combinations are endless - try cinnamon cookies with plum jam, or almond cookies with lemon curd - and make sure to tweet us a picture if you do!
Would you drink beer made from leftover bread? The aptly-named Toast is made by Tristram Stuart, founder of food waste charity Feedback. He takes leftover bread from bakeries around east London and turns it into a delicious hoppy beer at Hackney Brewery, made to a special Belgian recipe similar to amber ales and wheat beers. Almost half the bread produced in the UK is thrown away, so his valiant efforts to raise awareness of food waste are very noble indeed. We'll toast to that!
We’re keeping our finger on the pulse of the latest food trend – dulse. This red-tinged seaweed can be sourced from Irish shores, and is increasingly being used as a nutrition-packed seasoning in place of salt. We sampled this dulse & sea salt butter from the award-winning Abernethy Butter Company, which is hand-churned with only a touch of dried seaweed and a pinch of salt added. We’ve tried it slathered onto sourdough and melted into a bowl of gnocchi… how would you eat yours?
Crème brûlée egg
Abandon any notions of confectionary crème eggs - we're bringing you the real deal. This week we hosted a reader lunch at Purnell’s in Birmingham with Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell. Dessert was the stunning crème brûlée egg that won the Great British Menu with each judge awarding the maximum points possible - an outstanding 10/10/10. Glynn makes the egg into a silky smooth burnt English custard, then serves it back in its shell. The dish is a mainstay of the menu throughout the year, paired with different desserts that showcase seasonal fruits at their best - on this occasion, a winter rhubarb trifle.
Deep-fried truffle macaroni
First there was mac 'n' cheese, then we added truffle. Now the dish has been afforded an extra layer of indulgence by way of the deep fat fryer. This week we went to Wingmans and tucked into these deep-fried truffle macaroni bites. The month-long pop-up, predominantly specialising in succulent and saucy chicken wings, is currently being housed at Bread Street Kitchen in London's Bank.
Cookery assistant Sophie had a week's work experience at Le Manoir, where she spent some time in the pastry kitchen, learning how to work with sugar, glazes, mousses and more. She helped to skillfully plate this rum baba, served with a delicate citrus sugar caramelised pineapple, piña colada purée and passion fruit sorbet.
Read about what we were eating in January
Read about what we were eating in December
Read about what we were eating in November
Read about what we were eating in October
Read about what we were eating in September
Read about what we were eating in August
Read about what we were eating in July
Read about what we were eating in June
Read about what we were eating in May
Read about what we were eating in April
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