Our weekly food diary shares on-trend ingredients, fun foodie events, Insta-friendly restaurant dishes and must-try street eats.
In June we tried...
Gourmet pizza toppings
Ah, ham, egg & chips – a classic. But ever seen it on a pizza? We hadn’t either, until now. New to Homeslice, this is one of six exciting pizzas created by the restaurant to celebrate its sixth birthday. Discover a new topping at each of their London branches, from burrata, serrano ham, heirloom tomatoes & English asparagus (Neal’s Yard), to air-dried wagyu beef with truffle crème fraiche, cippolini onions & salsa verde (Marylebone). Our favourites? The deliciously cheesy City branch pizza with fresh black truffle, gubbeen & ogleshield cheeses and baby watercress, and this clever version of ham egg & chips (Shoreditch), combining ham hock, duck eggs and matchstick potatoes on pea purée. We’ve noticed a rise in ‘luxe’ pizzas – some work, some don’t, but this hits the spot.
Negroni ice cream sandwich
It’s Negroni Week (24-30 June) and we’ve discovered a delicious new way to enjoy this popular cocktail, especially on a hot day. On the menu at Italian-inspired Spelzini café in London’s Shoreditch, this very grown-up ice cream sandwich combines salted caramel ice cream with a fluffy, toasted brioche bun from Bread Ahead, drenched in a sauce made by reducing negroni down to a syrup. The bitter notes from the vermouth and Campari not only enhance the toasty flavour of the bun but also perfectly counterbalance the sweet and slightly salty ice cream. If reading this has you itching to get creative with ice cream sandwiches, try one of our favourite recipes like Tom Kerridge’s profiterole & salted toffee ice cream sandwiches or our Spanish-style version with churros.
What if having a pint with your pals could change the world? This week saw the opening of what claims to be the world’s most ethical pub, The Green Vic in Shoreditch, London (it’s all happening in the East End, folks). Founder Randy Rampersad ensures everything you buy and use has a positive environmental and social impact. The bar only stocks drinks supporting non-profit charities, including beer from Brewgooder, a craft beer company that donates all profits to clean water projects in Africa via The One Foundation and where one in four of its staff come from a vulnerable or disadvantaged background. The pub also has a zero-waste policy so any leftover food goes to a food bank and recycled materials are used wherever possible. As for the food, it’s all vegan thanks to a partnership with The Green Grill. Plant-based treats include this Mighty Meaty – a satisfying soy burger with vegan cheese, pickles and burger sauce in a charcoal bun. Green Vic starts as a three-month pop-up and aims to gain enough investment for a permanent site. We wish them success.
Salt & vinegar chocolate
The thought of combining fish & chips and chocolate might seem like a Willy Wonka creation gone wrong, but the Good Food team can report that it's a uniquely delicious combination. The chocolate wizards at Paul A Young have combined sweet, sour and umami flavours to create their quirky ‘chip shop’ caramel. Created by Kitchen Development Manager Hayley Parker, this crazy cocoa treat uses dark chocolate, malt vinegar, dried seaweed and Cornish sea salt to create a bite that makes your mouth water. To us, they tasted just like the last few crispy chips at the bottom of the bag from your favourite seaside chippy. We're ready for more unlikely pairings to tickle our tastebuds.
We've sampled stuffed cheesy pastries from all over the world, from Maltese pastizzi to piping hot Italian arancini, and we're always ready for more. This week, we sampled Turkish pachanga from Skewd in north London. A member of the borek family (a kind of filled pastry), this classic street food has been given an upmarket makeover with smoky chargrilled peppers, moreishly mellow kashar cheese, gently spiced Turkish sausage and a vibrant red pepper velouté. This golden-brown beauty is cooked over hot coals on an open fire for an authentic, crispy finish. This colourful plate is part of chef and founder Maz Demir's inventive meze menu, which reflects his travels to Anatolia. Look out for charcoal-grilled octopus, lahmacun flatbreads with minced lamb, and pan-seared scallops with coconut chips.
Whisky & tonic
When the sun starts shining and you're reaching for a standard spritz, why not switch it up and try a whisky and tonic? Australian whisky distillers Starward have developed a bold dram, aged in red wine barrels that draws influences from classic 'big reds'. The result is the Starward nova, a single malt full of subtle spice and bright red berries, perfect for sipping neat or mixing into cocktails. We tried this fruity whisky with a splash of bitter tonic and a wedge of sharp ruby grapefruit for a simple summer serve. This well-balanced thirst-quencher is the ideal mix of sweetness, zesty fruit and has a deliciously dry finish. Check out our collection of top whisky cocktail recipes for more creative drinks inspiration.
Ice cream beer
There’s nothing like an ice cream to cool you down in the summer months. But what about an ice cream beer? Yes, it’s a thing: brewers are adding lactose – milk sugar – to beer to give it a creamy, milkshake-like texture. A pioneer of the process is Leeds-based brewery Northern Monk, which makes Neapolitan Ice Cream Pale Ale. This beer was initially brewed in collaboration with Little Leeds Beerhouse in 2016, and has been released seasonally ever since. It's now moved into their regular production. Head Brewer, Brian Dickson says, ‘Lactose is a very effective way of adding mouthfeel and body to beer, so with the trend towards hazy, juicy, silky New England IPAs, it’s become ever more useful in brewing. As well as brewing taking inspiration from cuisines, and in particular desserts and sweet drinks such as milkshakes, we are seeing more beer recipes pairing lactose with fruits and vanilla, which when coupled together delivers that ice cream or milkshake character. The Neapolitan IPA was inspired by conversations about how it would be great to try recreating our favourite childhood ice cream in beer form. It was one of the first ventures into "milkshake" territory by a UK brewer.’ Our verdict? It certainly divided opinion within the Good Food team, with our head of magazines declaring it ‘a great summer beer with clear notes of vanilla and chocolate (if a little lacking in strawberry)’, while others were less convinced.
Espresso martini on tap
There’s no denying that when it comes cocktails, the espresso martini is still very much on-trend. The proof? For a start, there’s an entire festival dedicated to it (Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest, 7-11 August) and we’ve also noticed a rise in food products which use espresso martini as a flavour (espresso martini popcorn, ice cream and our very own espresso martini cocktail fancies, to name a few), but the latest evidence that everyone is loving this caffeine-fuelled cocktail is that you can now get it on tap! Yes, we’ve seen espresso martini available on tap in several pubs and bars recently, including The Joker (Brighton), Brigadiers (London) and newly opened Fugitive Motel bar & Kitchen in London’s Bethnal Green. Here, it’s known as the ‘Lo-Fi Espresso Martini’ and is made with local Climpson & Sons nitro cold brew coffee for a smooth but intense caffeine hit.
Savoury tonic water
It wasn’t too long ago that tonic water was solely a partner to gin and came in one flavour – plain. Fast-forward to now and the number of new, flavoured tonic waters designed for gins, spirits and even to drink on their own, is staggering. From elderflower to cucumber, violet to hibiscus, these days you can find tonic water in a huge array of flavours, both sweet and more recently, savoury. In the latter camp is this Franklin & Sons rosemary tonic water with black olive. We tried it this week, paired with Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino and garnished with a sprig of rosemary and found the resulting drink utterly delicious. The aromatic, slightly sweet vermouth partners wonderfully with the savoury notes in the tonic and we think this would be a great drink to pair with meaty dishes and umami flavour profiles.
Best British cheese
The prestigious British Cheese Awards has just named its 2019 Supreme Champion winner, aka Britain’s best cheese – although its influence is very much Italian. Made from sheep’s milk, this English pecorino is made by Somerset-based White Lake Cheese, making this the third year running that they’ve won the top prize. Competition was fierce too, with this year’s awards involving 900 entries from 122 makers based around the UK and Ireland. BBC Good Food Magazine editor Keith Kendrick served as a judge at The Royal Bath & West Show in Shepton Mallet, and says, ‘I always thought of pecorino as being hard and brittle and something to grate over pasta, but White Lake’s cheese is semi-hard, smooth and creamy, with a sweet nuttiness and notes of caramel. It’s outstanding – perfect with fruit. I brought some back to the office and everyone swooned over how gorgeous it was.’ All of the cheeses were scored on presentation, texture, aroma, flavour and balance, then, dependent on scores, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded.
In January, our columnist Tony Naylor predicted that goat meat would be popping up on more menus this year, thanks mostly to the growing movement for sustainable eating. Most male goats in the UK are euthanised soon after birth because they can’t be used to produce milk and cheese. So, in a bid to reduce this waste, there have been campaigns (such as Goatober) to raise awareness and encourage more consumers and restaurants to put goat meat on the menu. And it seems to be working. Recently, we’ve seen goat meat around much more, including in the form of this dosa from Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, at Lincoln Plaza London, the newest restaurant by Indian chef and BBC Saturday Kitchen favourite Cyrus Todiwala. Here, Scottish goat meat is diced and marinated in yogurt puréed with chillies, ginger, garlic, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and caramelised onions for 24 hours before being slowly cooked until tender and saucy. It’s then wrapped in a dosa (a thin, crispy Indian lentil and rice pancake) and served with a refreshing coconut chutney and Bombay-style sambar (a vegetable and lentil soup).
Eating healthily on the move just got a whole (or should we say roll) lot easier. This week, we tried a genius new solution to tucking into salad on the go. Laura Mimoun, founder of Kaleido, was making Vietnamese-style summer rolls for dinner one evening when she realised she could fill the rice paper not just with typical Vietnamese ingredients, but with a whole host of veg, grains and proteins to create a salad she could eat like a sandwich. The rolls are filled with different combinations of fresh, brightly coloured ingredients (resulting in an end product that looks a bit like a kaleidoscope, hence the name) and come with a sauce for dipping. We tried flavour combinations including smoked salmon, cucumber & cream cheese and feta cheese, sundried tomato, quinoa & pea pesto, both served with a lemon & olive oil dressing for dunking, plus the tamari-roasted aubergine, spring onion, sesame & chilli roll, which came with a smooth tahini sauce. Kaleido can be found at various places around London, including a pop-up in Selfridges Food Hall, but the long-term aim is to roll out (sorry) nationwide.
Missed an entry in our food diary? Find out what we've eaten previously...
What we ate in May 2019
What we ate in April 2019
What we ate in March 2019
What we ate in February 2019
What we ate in January 2019
What we ate in December 2018
What we ate in November 2018
What we ate in October 2018
What we ate in September 2018