What we ate in March

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 March we tried...

Weißwurstfrühstück 

… which means 'white sausage breakfast' in English. We could definitely get on board with this Bavarian brunch tradition, which we first tried in Germany and recreated after visiting the German Deli at Borough Market. Made from minced veal and pork back bacon, the sausages turn white when gently cooked in water because of the lack of colour preservatives used during preparation. As the meat is unsmoked, the sausages are made fresh every morning and traditionally must be eaten before noon with their accompanying sweet mustard, a pretzel… and a breakfast beer!

Gin & ginger

So light and refreshing it’s practically a health drink – at least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves. This week we sampled a spritz with No.3 gin from Japanese restaurant Sake No Hana in Mayfair. This combination was a winner in our books – Aperol, ginger juice, soda water and Prosecco, elegantly served in a stemless Chardonnay glass with slices of fresh cucumber at the bottom.

 

 

Tricolore salad with a seafood spin

Food editor-at-large Barney has been eating his way around west Wales this week, including the critically acclaimed Coast in Saundersfoot. The menu is centred around locally sourced, Welsh produce, with fresh shellfish caught daily in the seas around Pembrokeshire and a dedicated kitchen garden yielding seasonal vegetables. Highlights included this picked crab starter with an avocado purée, white tomato mousse, basil oil and semi-dried tomatoes – a fishy riff on the classic tricolore salad, befitting the breathtaking views of the shoreline.
 

Hop-infused vodka

At Happy Hour decision time, don’t plump for a pint or sip spirits - now you can have the best of both. Beer meets vodka in this clever concoction from Mikkeller Spirits. Dry hopping involves adding small amounts of hops to the liquid in ‘teabags’, which slowly takes on a subtle aroma and taste with little bitterness – just citrus, floral and fruity notes. The result? A refined drink that truly crosses all international borders – a Danish company producing a traditionally Russian drink using American hops. We sipped ours slowly on the rocks, but we reckon it could make for a really flavourful cocktail inclusion, too.

 

Doughnut sandwiches

Move over, cookie ice cream sandwich – split and stuffed doughnuts are our latest dessert obsession. Try it at home for an easy Easter treat by cutting shop–bought doughnuts (or homemade, if you’re feeling fancy), and filling them with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, our simple chocolate sauce and whatever fresh fruit you have to hand. Alternatively, pop down to London's Bird to try it in-house. On the savoury side of the menu? Another sandwich of sorts – two waffles stuffed with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, hot sauce and maple syrup.
 

Raw hot cross buns

Energy balls are all over our Instagram feed, popularised by health food advocates like Deliciously Ella, the Hemsleys and their ilk. So it was only a matter of time before someone added a seasonal spin. Meet the raw ‘hot cross bun’, a sweet treat which ticks almost all the free-from and health halo boxes – they're raw, vegan and contain no gluten, dairy or refined sugars. Made with coconut flour from The Groovy Food Company and a blueberry coconut icing, this subtly-spiced snack is much denser than a baked hot cross bun but just as moreish. While we won’t be giving up our baked buns any time soon, we do have a new energy ball recipe in the works – watch this space!

 

Supersized shakshuka

Forget the barbecue – this summer is all about the al fresco brunch. Given the task of cooking for a crowd (and an outdoor paella set to play with) we created a shakshuka of epic proportions – 36 eggs nestled in a spicy tomato sauce, cooked on a gas-heated tripod. Shakshuka is popping up all over trendy menus at the moment. If you’re keen to recreate it (albeit on a smaller scale) try our easy menemen recipe for a Turkish twist on this Middle Eastern dish.

 

Poke

Traditionally consisting of marinated, chopped raw fish, poke (pronounced ‘poe-kay’, if you're wondering) is a Hawaiian dish that looks set to soar in popularity in the coming months with the opening of Black Roe in Mayfair, which has a whole poke menu. We sampled three pokes – beef tataki, seabass and salmon – as well as the lobster mac ’n’ cheese, served ingeniously in its shell. Stay tuned for our poke recipe which will be on the site soon.

 

 

The ultimate peanut butter cake

This week we celebrated our food editor-at-large’s birthday in style – with an explosion of peanut butter goodness, pulled together from some of our favourite BBC Good Food recipes. We took the formula for the sponge and icing from our peanut butter & chocolate cake, adding an adapted Italian meringue from our mont Blanc-tini and some homemade peanut butter cups filled with icing and Carnation caramel. To finish? We sandwiched the cake with dulce de leche and scattered with extra salted peanuts. Happy Birthday Barney!

 

The first MSC-certified oysters

If you're after sustainable shellfish, head to London branches of Whole Foods Market, where you'll find the first MSC-certified oysters on sale. The MSC ecolabel ensures that seafood is fully traceable to a sustainable source – in this case, a wild-catch fishery in Holland. Unlike rock oysters, which are available year-round, native oysters are only available from September to April and are considered by many to be fuller-flavoured. We’re hoping to see more shops stocking MSC-certified shellfish in the future, and to catch as many native oysters as we can before the season is up.

 

Cacao beer-braised brisket

This week chef Tom Hunt teamed up with artisan chocolatier Mast Brothers London to create a menu at Poco Tapas Bar using chocolate in every course. The verdict? It works. Highlights were the labneh with Madagascan cacao nibs, orange & argan oil and beef brisket braised in cacao beer and topped with smoked chocolate picada. Pudding was Belizean chocolate & beetroot nemesis with yogurt. Being one of London's top eco chefs, Tom showed how he avoids waste by using every last bit of the beetroot. The beetroot stalks were candied and the peel was cooked then ground down to create beetroot dust to sprinkle on the yogurt.
 

Cereal-topped ice cream

We paid a visit to the Momofuku Milk Bar store in New York City this week. Founded by MasterChef USA judge Christina Tosi, Milk Bar offers up playful takes on familiar sweet treats. We sampled their famous cereal milk soft serve ice cream with a cornflake crunch, which tastes uncannily like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of cornflakes. As for their trademark crack pie, let's just say we know how it got its name now. It’s like a treacle tart but so rich and buttery that it’s impossible to stop at one slice. Now all we need is a Milk Bar in the UK... 

 

Gochugaru & spring onion scones

If you’re bored of twee afternoon tea offerings, The Modern Pantry’s spread of fusion treats might be more up your street. Better still, the traditional tea can be switched for craft beer – very inspired. With ingredients sourced from all over the globe, the menu had us intrigued. Our standout dish was scones flavoured with gochugaru, a Korean red pepper powder, served with pulled pork, umeboshi mayonnaise and fennel kimchi. Desserts were playful pairings of sweet, savoury and the unexpected – forget salted caramel, it’s all about miso caramel now.
 

Bacon-stuffed hot cross buns

Last year we were putting them in desserts. This year we’re all about the hot cross brunch. For maximum effect, stuff your Easter buns with savoury fillings for a flavour sensation. We loved the combination of sweet/salty and soft/crispy in these bacon-filled fruit buns, sampled at our Easter photoshoot. We've witnessed hot cross bacon buns pop up all over our Instagram feeds, so we can confidently say this is one thriving trend for spring 2016. 
 

Raw chocolate orange cheesecake

We’ve seen a spike in searches for raw recipes on bbcgoodfood.com, and the potential benefit of following a raw food diet is a hot topic in the health world. But it’s not all salads and spiralizing – this week we indulged in an uncooked ‘cheesecake’ from Café Lu-Ma in Wimbledon. Cashews, pecans and coconut oil contribute to a creamy, rich texture to rival any cream cheese base. Turns out you can have your (raw, gluten-free and vegan) cake and eat it.

 

Secret signature cocktails

We’ve recently observed a shift towards drinks developers approaching cocktails like chefs. It’s now not uncommon for restaurants to have whole kitchens dedicated to their drinks menus, or for a cocktail to be considered as a course in its own right. This week Stuart Finlay, bar manager at 100 Wardour Street, told us that he has a number of lockable rooms in which to perfect his cocktail recipes, sharing the recipe for the individual elements with only three people, so the complete recipe remains a secret. This signature cocktail – listed elusively as 'Amaretto, lemon juice, egg white, fig' – is well worth sampling.

 

Matcha madeleines

Fusion food is big news, not least in the realm of baking. This week, we've been mixing new age and old school by pairing fresh flavours with classic French bakes. Based on our basic madeleine recipe, these colourful cakes are coated with a creamy icing made from white chocolate and matcha powder. They're guaranteed to grab your guests’ attention.


 

Cheat's Korean fried chicken

Fried chicken wings don't get much better than when they're coated in a finger-licking sweet and spicy gochujang sauce, but sometimes, we can’t be bothered to bust out the deep-frier. Instead, we've been working on a baked version, and so far we've had rave reviews. To do it yourself, toss the wings in seasoned cornflour, drizzle them with oil and bake until crispy. Next, make a sauce from simmered gochujang, a fermented Korean condiment, mixed with honey, soy, ginger and sesame oil. Once thick and syrupy, brush it over the wings and return to the oven for 10 mins, before basting and roasting twice more. Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds and extra chilli if you like it hot, as we do!

 

Norwegian skrei

This special type of cod has just landed on the UK food scene straight from the cold, clear waters of northern Norway. Skrei is a seasonal ingredient with a short window of availability, between January and April each year. Its lean, firm and bright white flesh make it extremely versatile to cook with. We pan-fried it with butter and capers, used it to make fishcakes and finally a one-pan dish with chorizo and saffron. Cookery assistant Sophie also had a throrough workout just holding it up to take the photo!

 

‘Rhubarb & custard'

One of the latest desserts on the menu at the Chiltern Firehouse is a re-imagining of the classic rhubarb and custard. Under the raw rhubarb ice and milk crumb is a creamy milk custard. Refreshing and indulgent, all at the same time.

 


 

Puntarelle

 
This week we headed to Osteria in the Barbican Centre and dined from their ingredient-focused, modern menu of Italian cooking. Our standout dish was the puntarelle, a bitter leaf from Italy that's currently in season, served with an anchovy dressing. Unfortunately, it's hard to come by in the UK, but try Italian food markets and online vegetable delivery services, or substitute for chicory for a similar flavour.

 

 

Read about what we were eating in February
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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