What we ate in November

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. Here's what we ate in November. By Natalie Hardwick and Sarah Lienard.

Our weekly food diary sifts through the latest food trends, restaurant updates, farmers' market finds and seasonal treats to help you find your next favourite foods... 

Hanging out with…

After some sell-out pop-ups, chef Selin Kiazim has just opened her first restaurant, Oklava. Drawing on her Turkish-Cypriot roots, Selin’s speciality is taking vibrant, fresh ingredients and cooking with a charcoal grill or wood-fired oven. Here she is serving one of her signature ‘pides’ - Turkish pizzas - topped with shredded spicy beef short rib, yogurt and green chilli. We predict big things for Selin so watch out for her future food endeavours.
 

Drinking…

Our tastebuds did a merry leap upon receiving a glug of Magic Rock’s Rhubarbarella, a braggot with a touch of coconut custard about it. Braggot is a malty kind of mead and an ancient honey-based brew we’ve been seeing a lot more of in the craft beer world. With London’s Gosnells quietly reinventing the sweet brew and the US producing lots of really interesting honey-based beers, it’s one drinks trend we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
 

Trying for the first time…

Liver dumplings may not sound too appetising – truffled beef broth sounds a lot better. This traditional recipe, also known as Leberknödelsuppe, originates from Bavaria, and consists of a very delicate soup in which the offal dumplings are poached, infusing the whole dish with flavour. We sampled this elegantly presented version, finished with shavings of the precious stuff, at German Gymnasium this week.

 

Craving…

You’d never guess the secret ingredient in these tasty treats just from looking at them. Our head of digital, Hannah, is generally more savoury–toothed than sweet, so we whipped up these Marmite cupcakes to wish her all the best as she embarks on her maternity leave. The rich chocolate and toffee sponges were filled with a gooey caramel centre and given a salty hit from the savoury spread. If that wasn't enough, they were finished off with – wait for it – crushed Twiglets! If the original product polarises opinion, these are guaranteed to - but they did get a big thumbs-up from these yeast extract enthusiasts.

 

Dining on…

This month, we’ve tucked into hotdogs heaving with exotic toppings as well as off-piste fillings like Japanese-inspired prawn patties, so it’s safe to say that these fast food favourites are firmly back in fashion. We think that in 2016 you’ll be looking to the shoreline for fillings to stuff between your hotdog and burger buns. At his stunning coastal restaurant, Rock Salt Folkestone, chef Mark Sargeant served us this spicy mussel popdog of deep-fried mussels, lettuce and an ultra-artistic drizzle of the classic condiments to finish.

 
 

Trying for the first time...

Soho's Hoppers serves signature Sri Lankan pancakes, crisp, golden dosa and a colourful array of small plates, singing with flavour. Despite all the spice (or perhaps because of) our favourite dish was this kulfi pudding bowl. Packed full of texture, it featured rosewater tapioca balls (sago) and a scoop of roasted rice kulfi topped with extra crispy rice. The textures, toasty flavour and creamy softness made it one of the most well-considered desserts we've had in ages, and the bright green pandan jelly added a playful retro touch. We're keeping a close eye on the Sri Lankan food movement, as it's set to explode in the UK. 

Dining on...

The abundance of bone marrow on menus everywhere can be loosely traced back to Fergus Henderson’s signature dish of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad, famously served at St John. We tried this beautifully presented plate of grilled bones from 45 Jermyn St, served with crisp and crunchy toasted sourdough. The parsley salt is a subtle nod to Fergus's herb of choice, which cuts through and freshens up the buttery, rich and unctuous bone marrow. If you're not sure about scooping the marrow from the bones, we suggest it melted into a rich sauce to add gloss and a denser flavour. 

Craving...

Champagne and… hot dogs? With seventeen hot dog variations and an extensive list of independently produced champagnes, Bubbledogs taps right into the current trends for single-item menus and fancy fast food. We tried the Mac Daddy hotdog, which arrived hidden under a generous topping of macaroni and cheese, crispy onions and bacon bits, proving our long-held belief that macaroni cheese enhances almost everything it touches...

 

Lunching on...

Regular readers will remember that two weeks ago we snapped up some truffles from Acqualagna, and nestled them in a jar filled with rice to keep them fresh and dry. Truffles will infuse anything that they come into contact with, with their rich, musky taste – perfect for creating depth of flavour. We couldn’t resist making this truffle risotto, finished with truffle shavings, Parmesan and a little extra truffle oil drizzled over for good measure. Luxury squared. 

Testing...

Good Food goes intergalactic! As part of our effort to entice kids into the kitchen, we’ve been whipping up some sneakily scientific snacks, such as these space biscuits. The best bit about learning about the Solar System is that you can eat the whole thing afterwards. Edible education is the best kind, we say, so watch out for the recipe in our March issue.

 

CongeeBrunching on… 

This week, we ditched our bowl of milky breakfast oats for congee, an Asian rice porridge with a super thick texture. Like the classic British version we know and love, congee is a neutral, carby base fit for creative toppings. This congee from the U Chiang Mai in Thailand (where our food editor is spending her honeymoon) came with eggs and Chinese croissants, providing the kind of nourishment to set you upon your day ready to tackle absolutely anything life throws at you. Congee is served across Asia, always with a slightly different spin, be that subtle changes to the consistency or a new choice of toppings. If you're travelling in the area, be sure to keep an eye out for it. 

 

CrosnesSnapping up...

Crosnes may look like larvae, but it turns out beauty is indeed only skin deep, as these knobbly little tubers are utterly delicious. Also known as Chinese or Japanese artichoke, they’re tricky to get hold of, so when we saw them on the menu at Urban Coterie,  we had to have them. If you manage to lay your paws on a haul, do as Urban Coterie does - wash and blanch the crosnes, then chill them in an ice bath before pan-frying them until they're a lovely colour. They're then finished off with garlic butter, flat leaf parsley and seasoning. 


 

scotch eggLunching on... 

Are we reaching peak scotch egg? We’ve always loved these breadcrumbed spheres of wonder in whatever shape, size or standard they emerge, but as they’ve graduated from party buffet territory to something altogether more luxe and Michelin-worthy, they’ve become more and more elaborate along the way. This smoked haddock and black pudding scotch egg from Tom Kerridge’s Marlow pub The Coach sounds like it shouldn’t work, but the creamy haddock puree and creamy runny yolk was the perfect foil for all that earthy black pudding. 

 

Seafood ballsDining on…

While there’s long been a French thread running through the rich tapestry of Vietnamese cuisine, chef Jeff Tan has looked to Italy to create hybrid dishes at Vietfood, a new Chinatown restaurant. These seafood balls came with a Parmesan cheese and mint centre surrounded by a mix of prawns and cuttlefish and covered in a crispy crumb. Jeff says the Parmesan enhances the flavour of mint when it melts, something we happen to agree with now we’ve tried the unlikely combination. 


 

gingerbreadCooking up... 

Our Test Kitchen has been abuzz with festive cheer since the summer (regular What We’re Eating readers will remember our plucky festive elves suffering for their work while testing Christmas puddings in a heatwave). Now, we’re going full throttle for Good Food gingerbread month, 30 days dedicated to our star dish for Christmas 2015. Our dutiful helpers made 150 pieces of gingerbread on Tuesday alone. We’re posting user recipes on our Instagram page, and you can find some of the spiciest submissions there as inspiration should you want to drop us a line and join the doughy revolution. 

 

Foraging for...

The unseasonably warm weather has meant that the mushroom season is still in full swing, as it’s not until the first frost that wild funghi start to falter. We foraged this huge sparassis, or cauliflower fungus, in Wales. Its delicate fronds and ivory-to-yellow hue make it easy to identify – but do make sure that you know what you’re doing when picking wild mushrooms. After the arduous task of cleaning it, we tossed it in a hot pan until crispy, and were rewarded with a deliciously nutty, autumnal flavour.

 

Testing...

We hold our greasy hands up – we’ve occasionally been known to venture into sleazy fast food joints. While it's not a habit we indulge in regularly, one international dish from the convenience food scene did inspire us - the ebi katsu burger. We set out to give this panko-coated, deep fried prawn patty the gourmet treatment, and ended up with a big bite that would win over even the most ardent takeaway fan - think fish finger sandwich meets crispy prawn toast. Keep an eye out for the recipe in our January issue.

 

Snapping up...

Fresh truffles are a truly rare treat, but we were fortunate enough to forage some in Acqualagna, Italy, on a tour with the Cambridge Cookery school. After seeing how trained dogs are used to locate these underground gems, we sampled the local dish of passatelli, which is a noodle-style pasta made from breadcrumbs instead of flour. Our carefully foraged treasures have now been stashed away in the test kitchen in a jam jar with some rice, which will not only keep them dry and fresh for as long as possible, but will result in a really flavourful risotto.

 

Trying for the first time...

One of the most contentious of concepts is adding vegetables to desserts, and setting aside the obvious carrot cake, it can be a bit hit and miss. Luckily, Eat Poco struck the right note with this goat’s milk chocolate pot with caramelised beetroot and whipped curd that we sampled as part of a tapas spread this week. The elegantly-arranged slices of root veg were wafer thin and crispy, and had a sweet praline flavour which complimented the rich chocolate base beautifully.

 

Craving...

We love a seasonal sweet treat, and there's nothing more autumnal than pairing crisp, tart apples with sugary, sticky toffee. Over Halloween and Bonfire Night, our site stats were full of searches for how to make the perfect homemade toffee apple. In fact, you loved it so much that we came up with 10 toffee apple cakes, cookies, crumbles and doughnuts that truly elevate this humble, classic combo to finger-licking, bowl-scraping new heights, including this spiced toffee apple traybake. You can't say we're not good to you!

 

What do you think of this week’s eats, and what have you been feasting on? 

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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