What we ate in October 2016
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. Written by Sarah Lienard and Anna Lawson.
In October we tried...
With Colombia tipped to be one of 2017's hottest destinations, we were excited to check out the cuisine of this South American country at a new venture, in London's Wood Green. Green Rooms Hotel is running six-month residencies to give up-and-coming chefs the chance to gain experience. The first of these is Esteban Arboleda, founder of Colombian Street Kitchen, a street food business specialising in Colombian cuisine. We tried the arepa – a patty made with corn, studded with black quinoa and toasted sunflower seeds and topped with feta, guacamole and fresh salsa. The king prawn ceviche was also full of flavour and came with fried plantain chips, known as patacones, which feature heavily in Colombian cuisine.
What do you get when you cross a lemon with a tiger? No, it’s not the beginning of a bad cracker joke but a new fruit launching in M&S next week. The Pink Tiger Lemon is a unique variety of lemon grown in Southern Spain which, although similar in flavour to your average lemon, differs in its green and yellow striped skin and pink flesh. With a slightly more aromatic flavour and striking look to its skin, it makes the perfect addition to your G&T. We think it would look great in salads or with seafood too. Pick it up from M&S stores from 1 November.
Gammon, egg & chips
Remade classics are so hot right now and this week we tucked into the ultimate - gammon, egg & chips, but not as you know it. Premium online marketplace Market Porter teamed up with Young British Foodies 2015 Chef of the Year, Adam Rawson, for an unforgettable eight-course tasting menu, showcasing meat, cheese, charcuterie and chocolate from independent producers across the UK, and we were lucky enough to attend. Adam managed to elevate the mainstay of every British pub chain to new heights with his interpretation of gammon & egg. The sweet and succulent gammon is topped with a charred pineapple slice to add a smoky sweet flavour, a soft egg yolk and matchstick-thin fries. With a sauce reminiscent of good-old HP, this Young British Foodie Chef of the Year has transformed this humble dish to a restaurant-standard masterpiece.
There’s just no end to the versatility of the humble potato. From age-old boiled, mashed and roasted to new-fangled dauphinoise and domino styles, it seems each time we look, there’s a new way to eat it. But this latest one might just be our favourite. Behold the tornado potato! A whole unpeeled potato is spiral cut using a special machine and then deep fried, resulting in a twisting tornado of crispy fried potato on a stick. This one was enjoyed on our recent reader offer trip to San Sebastián and referred to there as enrollada (literally ‘rolled up’). We’re hoping this spruced up bar snack will take off here too – just think of the dipping possibilities!
Milk and cookies
After having milk and cookies a few weeks back at Dominique Ansel’s new London bakery and talking about cereal milk a few months before, it’s clear that the milk and cookie craze has really taken off. Now there’s a dedicated pop-up focused solely around this classic combo, from our very own Chelsie and her friend Kristelle. Loads of the team have been to their spot in Old Street Station to try their irresistible (and highly Instagrammable) cookies and Coco Pops cereal milk. The indulgent flavours include peanut butter, dark chocolate & tahini, Nutella-stuffed Oreo (woah) and even cookie sandwiches filled with Crunchie honeycomb mousse – a must for anyone with a sweet-tooth. But you’d better move quick - Blondies Kitchen Milk and Cookies Bar is open for only two weeks from 17th October.
Buying breakfast out has never been more popular, and this week we visited an establishment that’s making the most of the trend. Owned by Dutch chef Patricia Trijbits, Where The Pancakes Are specialise in (you guessed it) pancakes, set within the just-launched Flat Iron Square – a new food hub near Borough and part of London’s ‘low line’ railway walk. On the menu are impressive stacks of savoury and sweet buttermilk pancakes, corn pancakes with avocado, Dutch babies and blinis, with drinks including Prosecco and cider. We tucked into ‘a thousand greens’, a savoury sensation with baby leaves stirred through the buttermilk batter, finished with chilli, garlic, lime butter, coriander, and a scattering of extra spinach for good measure.
Chocolate for breakfast
It’s National Chocolate Week, which means (in our books) that it's perfectly acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, so we’ve been at Mark Sargeant’s Plum + Spilt Milk in King’s Cross, London, doing just that. This dark chocolate mousse with raspberries & honeycomb looked more art than edible, with delicate flowers, mini meringues and a shiny mirror glaze even Paul Hollywood would be proud of. The glossy ganache hides a rich, dense chocolate mousse and sweet chunks of honeycomb and sharp raspberry sorbet are the perfect accompaniments to cut through the richness. If chocolate desserts aren’t your thing, fear not – there isn’t one dish on the pudding menu that we wouldn’t order. We sampled iced peanut & salted caramel mousse, poached pear & sticky ginger cake, autumn bramble pavlova and their signature ‘plum + spilt milk’ (a brioche square topped with poached plums, served with milk ice-cream).
This week, the lovely team at Gardener’s World introduced us to the Cucamelon - the cucumber-meets-melon exotic fruit which, confusingly, isn’t really a cucumber or a melon (although they’re all in the same family). This tiny little fruit, originally grown in Central America goes by many different names, from the cute ‘mouse melon’ and ‘mini melon' to ‘Mexican sour gherkin.’ The taste? Refreshing and slightly sour, with all the juiciness of cucumber with a hint of lime. We think they’d be great in a G&T, but they also work well pickled or added to a salad or salsa. We’re yet to see them in supermarkets, but watch this space. For those with green fingers, they’re super easy to grow yourself.
Feast your eyes (and stomachs) on the gibassier – an enriched dough pastry studded with candied orange peel and flavoured with orange blossom water and aniseed. This little-known French pastry originating from Provence is shaped a little like a fougasse loaf and is traditionally made using olive oil. It sounds like a strong contender for a Bake Off technical challenge, but luckily the team at Suffolk’s Pump Street Bakery have already nailed it. We ate ours hot out of the oven, dusted with sugar (with an excellent coffee) at the award-winning bakery in Orford, Suffolk. As Mary Berry might say: sheer perfection.
For all those who were unaware, this Tuesday (4 October) was a very special day… National Cinnamon Roll Day. Although originally a Swedish celebration, cinnamon rolls (or buns, in America) are enjoyed all over the globe. If you’re after a warm, fat and doughy cinnamon bun, oozing with sweet cinnamon paste and smothered with cream cheese frosting, forget Europe, you’ve got to head over to the US. Our editorial assistant is in Denver, Colarado celebrating Cinnamon Roll Day the right way – by eating a cinnamon bun the size of her head! These bad boys came from American chain Cinnabon. For American-style cinnamon buns in the UK, Cinnabon has UK branches in London and Cambridge, or check out Roller’s Café in Manchester.
It’s London Cocktail Week, so we’ve been out and about drinking alcohol (for research purposes, of course…). Our stop at the Sanderson Hotel in central London had us making them ourselves. Equipped with a glass of Perrier-Jouet Champagne plus a range of seasonal, botanical-flavoured syrups, edible flowers, leaves and berries to play with, we were tasked with creating a delicious cocktail. We tried mixed berry syrup with fresh berries and edible flowers, a pear and elderflower syrup and our favourite: a rose and almond syrup, which resulted in Champagne that tasted just like Bakewell tart - now that’s our kind of cocktail! DIY and tailored cocktails are on the rise, with bars such as BYOC (Bring Your Own Cocktail) opening in Brighton and London. The concept is simple – bring a bottle of spirit, and a bartender will create bespoke cocktails to suit your individual tastes.
The past decade has witnessed a huge increase in our consumption of venison, with retail sales reportedly rocketing by a massive 400% in the last year. Its popularity may correlate with the movement towards healthier food - not only does venison contain more protein than any other red meat, it’s also packed full of iron and vitamins and low in fat. Restaurants are fuelling the surge, with venison featuring more and more on menus across the country. We enjoyed this stunning venison tartare starter at The Manor in Clapham. Succulent chunks of venison, radish slices and cubes of pickled black radish came served with a wild garlic sauce so delicious that we mopped it up with warm sourdough until the plate was spotless. And venison is just as versatile as beef – we’ve seen it in chilli (The Coach, Marlow), on pizza (Homeslice, London), in burgers, and even in a scotch egg (both at Mac & Wild, London).
Missed the last food diary? Find out what we ate last month, or visit our 12 month compilation to get fully up to speed...