What we ate in January

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 January we were...

Craving…

You’ve heard of popcorn chicken, but how about popcorn mussels? We’ve been perfecting this crispy seafood snack in the test kitchen this week. Inspired by a Louisiana-style submarine sandwich – the po’boy – we’ve stuffed these battered shellfish into a bun with a zesty lime mayo served on the side. We stand by our prediction that deep-fried fish dishes are set to be everywhere this summer, as less people rely on red and processed meats to get their fast food fix.

 

Trying for the first time…

We’ve done the affogato thing (pouring an espresso over ice cream) and we've tried doing the same with Pedro Ximenez (PX), a delicious sweet sherry. But this one from Foxlow is new to us, and something we’ll most definitely be pinching. Behold the London restaurant's soft serve ice cream (air is introduced while freezing, resulting in a lighter, softer ice), drenched with Cocchi Torino, a bitter sweet vermouth with a hint of orange, served with an amaretti biscuit. Bye bye Dry January!

 

 

Brunching on…

Stacks of fluffy American pancakes and silky thin French crêpes are all well and good, but to truly be on-trend this Shrove Tuesday, you’ve got to go global. This Dutch baby pancake looks and tastes like a Yorkshire pud but is, in fact, a sweet German popover, confusingly labelled as Dutch. Whatever the origin, we’re huge fans, particularly given its boozy finish of brandy-soaked cherries. Find the recipe in the February issue of Good Food or online.

 

 

Dining on...

This week we sampled some Parisian cuisine in Covent Garden, at the just-opened Frenchie, so named after the chef patron Greg Marchand who was nicknamed this by Jamie Oliver while working at Fifteen. The menu echoes its counterpart across the Channel, but there’s a twist – in Paris, Greg serves only British cheese, and in London, only French. We tried this organic Laguiole from the Aveyron region, elegantly plated alongside chutney and crackers.

 

 

Snapping up…

The blood orange season is short, but oh-so-sweet, so make the most of these ruby beauties while they last. Juicy and aromatic, their deep red hue makes them the ideal ingredient to add a colourful tint to bakes and cakes. We combined them with polenta, pistachios and swathes of bright pink icing to make this beautiful upside-down cake for cookery assistant Sophie’s birthday. Inspired to try something similar? Our blood orange, blossom & pomegranate cake would make for an eye-catching alternative.

 

 

Baking…

This week, we spent a day at The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School in Bath, brushing up on our bread skills, and challenging our preconceptions about how to handle dough. Richard’s no-knead, no-knock-back technique replicates the action of making bread in a machine. This innovative method involves quickly lifting the dough until it is about shoulder height, then slapping it back down onto the work surface, pulling the dough outwards st the same time to stretch it. We made batches of sweet and savoury dough, then transformed it with various flavours and shapes, including brie baked in brioche with persillade, olive breadsticks, mini fruit loaves, and fougasse (pictured).

Craving...

Here are three things we are fans of – pizza, Nutella and sweet-and-salty flavour combos. So, when Dean Street-based brothers Thom and James Elliot (aka The Pizza Pilgrims) sent us a dish that combined all of the above, we were keen to tuck in. Stuffed with sweet chocolate spread and salted ricotta, this is tear-and-share comfort food at its finest (or alternatively, tear-and-don’t-share). Perhaps they’ve been reading what we’re eating – we predicted a trend towards sweet pizzas (in particular, chocolate and cream cheese incarnations) back in April this year.

 

Trying for the first time...

It’s not all that often that DIY means luxury, but this week we tried a traditional Chinese method of cooking that tallies the two at Shuang Shuang. Diners select a broth such as lamb tonic (a little spice) or Bird Berry (mild), which is poured into your own individual bubbling hot pot, with the controls in reach to allow each person to turn up or lower the heat as you wish. Ingredients can be picked from a passing conveyor belt for each person to lower into their simmering stockpot and cook for themselves, with everything from safe bets such as meatballs to more challenging options of fish heads and offal.

Dining on...

How do you make Bolognese even better? Use venison instead of beef and deep fry it! Chef and owner of Upstairs at Trinity, Adam Byatt, has reimagined this Italian dish to create these venison Bolognese fritters. Perfectly portioned, these rich and gamey bites were topped with the tangiest pickled walnut ketchup. It's left us wondering which other classic dishes we could improve with a deep-fryer...

 

Lunching on...

This week, we sampled a selection of impeccably presented dim sum and desserts at A Wong. These sweet, steamed duck yolk custard buns are decorated to look like mandarins, which represent wealth and prosperity in China. They have a molten middle made from salted duck egg yolk custard which means they eat like a chocolate fondant with the flavour of the best custard tart. Also on the menu is a rather theatrical dish of tea smoked banana, nut crumble and chocolate, over which caramel is poured, melting the sphere in a truly mesmerising, mouthwatering display of deliciousness.

 

Dining on…

In a week when black pudding was billed as a potential health food, we tried this stunning starter at The Punch Bowl in Cumbria. This beautifully plated starter had a Stornoway black pudding base, deep fried egg and apple caramel, finished with a pork scratching-type straw. While we’re not completely convinced of black pudding’s superfood status yet, we can confirm that this dish was seriously good for the soul.

 

Hanging out with…

It seems like everyone wants a selfie with our Chelsie! This week, it was the turn of TV personality and fitness fanatic Davina, as she launched her new cookware range with Lakeland. The pair enjoyed a bespoke, three course meal created especially for Davina by The Ivy, and featuring some of her favourite foods – including a goat’s curd and beetroot salad and pineapple and coconut ice. Exclusively at Lakeland, her new range aims to make healthy eating easy and accessible to everyone, no matter how busy your lifestyle is, from a dinky crinkle cutter for sweet potato chips to a compact spiralizer that will fit into the smallest of kitchens - all appealing ideas to our perpetually time–pushed team.

 

Drinking…

This week, we sipped on truly eccentric cocktails at London’s high flying (quite literally – it’s 40 storeys up) Duck and Waffle. Their January drinks menu is half boozy concoctions and half soft drinks. The mocktail menu featured a butternut squash Bellini. Using vegetables and savoury flavours are both big new trends according to barman Rich Woods, who also thinks the bar world is paying increasing attention to making interesting booze-free beverages. The ‘anti-resolutions’ list featured a bone marrow Cosmopolitan (pictured – think hints of roast lamb and cranberry sauce), black truffle Negroni and Branston pickle Martini – all evoking mouthwatering memories of some of our favourite meals. Long may the liquid lunches continue!

 

Testing…

After lots of indulgent festive feasting, the team have been putting all our new year resolve to good use to test out our brand-new Healthy Diet Plan for January 2016. With seven days of recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner designed to deliver an optimum balance of nutrients, we knew that we were in good hands. Our enthusiasm only increased when we discovered that our favourite winter fare was still on the menu, with curries, steaks, and even a Sunday roast. Feeling inspired? You can sign up here - be sure to check in next week, when we’ll be sharing how we got on.

Craving…

Our site stats show that baking with bananas is one of your favourite things to do, so we’re hoping you’ll love this latest bright, brash and beautifully bonkers creation from our very own queen of cakes, senior food editor Cassie. This banana & custard cake boasts a retro flavour combination, bold drippy icing and piles of bright confectionery, making it bang on trend – we predict that trashy and retro flavours will be taking the baking scene by storm in 2016. Excited to give it a go? Try the recipe and make sure to Tweet us a photo!

 

Trying for the first time…

During the superfood-filled days of January, just the words ‘deep-fried pastry’ are enough to make us drool. Schneeball – or ‘snowball’ in German – are an indulgent treat originating from Bavaria. They are made by deep-frying thick ribbons of shortcrust pastry in a contraption similar to an oversized tea infuser. Once released from the mould, they are dusted with icing sugar, dipped in chocolate and nuts or injected with fillings between each fold of pastry – we sampled this one, filled with a sort of chocolate hazelnut spread. Think swirls of shortbread with pockets of a Nutella-style spread - delicious!

 

Brunching on…

This week we discovered trendy hotspot Wrights, an independently owned food emporium in South West Wales that puts the focus firmly on using locally sourced produce. Oozing hipster charm, Wrights is a glorious mix of café, delicatessen and farm shop, opening in the evenings on Friday and Saturday only. We sampled their classic bubble and squeak - a dish that, for us, is synonymous with the post–Christmas season – peppered with salumi and topped with a perfectly poached egg. With more places shining a spotlight on the provenance of their produce, we think we’ll be eating at more ultra-local establishments this year.

Dining on…

Move over tired tapas, dim sum are the sharing dishes set to be bigger than ever. We tried these beautiful black cod & king prawn shu mai, created by head chef Aaj Fernando at chic Chelsea restaurant, Eight Over Eight. Lightly steamed, the dainty dumplings are flavoured with Thai chives, kimchee, Chinese wine and a chicken stock sauce. With exciting Asian flavours and their Instagram-friendly appearance, we predict that these classic Chinese dumplings will be getting some serious attention this year.

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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