What we ate in October

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. By Natalie Hardwick and Sarah Lienard.

Earlier this month we were...

Fried egg emojisTrying for the first time...

Flashes of inspiration come at the most curious times, and for us it came over a pan of sizzling bacon. Behold our fried egg emojis, our game-changing way of serving breakfast. Food editor Barney created them using ketchup, and we’re currently mulling over applying for a patent before someone steals the idea and takes it global. We created kissing, winking and tongue-out faces, but the possibilities are endless. We’ll be trying out the grimacing cat this weekend, although we’re not sure we could face biting into a bewhiskered friend, yolk-based or not… 

 

Sloe berriesSnapping up... 

It’s official, we’ve started making this year’s homemade Christmas presents. But then, when you harvest an almighty haul of sloe berries, what better way to proceed than to set to work on a batch of flavoured gin. We foraged our berries in Wales, and while they’re growing all over the country at the moment, you only have a matter of days left in which to pick them – October is peak sloe season, and the month is drawing to a close. Our sloes are now cosily nestled in a Kilner jar, getting a nice long soak in a boozy bath, radiating their delicious flavour along the way. 
 

SabrinaHanging out with... 

This week, we attended a cookery class hosted by one of our favourite new food writers, Sabrina Ghayour. Sabrina's following her super-successful cookbook, Persiana, with a second release, and she previewed some of the dishes likely to feature, including apple & sumac salad, lamb lollipops and Persian lamb, quince and saffron stew. Quince is native to Iran, and as a result is widely used in Persian cooking, so if you’re unsure how to use this seasonal ingredient, perhaps you should look eastwards for inspiration… 

 

CocktailDrinking... 

We often feel like we've lost our sea legs after a cocktail session, but this week we took the nautical theme even further as we visited Sexy Fish, London’s hottest new celebrity haunt. Turns out, cocktails are the route to getting over that ludicrous name (which at least ensures the restaurant is seared on your conscience forever) as we merrily guzzled the gin-based, Shipwrecked concoction, served in a treasure chest with edible sand, and got whisked away to the deep blue sea. Is the drink as ridiculous as the restaurant name? Yes. Is it gimmicky? Absolutely. But we’re a sucker for all that, and it made us love it even more. 

 

Cupcake bouquetTesting

Our deluxe cupcakes were a trial run for all the floral bakes we’re already planning for next spring. That’s right, we’re no longer about actual edible flowers, rather icing art that creates lifelike blossoms from buttercream and fondant. Our bouquet featured roses and hydrangeas, tucked into tissue paper leaves. This year has seen a ‘bigger and brighter is better’ ethos run like a satin thread through the contemporary cake-making world, thanks to books like Juliet Sear’s Cakeology and new stores like Crumbs and Doilies. May the cakes get bigger and brighter yet… 

 

FondueTesting... 

Is there something intangibly naff about fondue? Perhaps, but we don’t care. Reinventing vintage dishes is underrated, plus we’re talking a pot of molten cheese here, and we’ll always leap to the defence of that. Ahead of our imminent push for 2016 to be the year of the fondue, we’ve been attempting to find the ultimate formula. Be sure to check back for the (very scientific and serious) first instalment of our cheese chronicles. 



 

Mead trufflesTrying for the first time... 

Whisperings from the craft beer world have it that mead is set to be the new drink of choice in the months to come. The formula for this ancient, honey-based drink is almost older than time, but new makers are intent on bringing it back in a contemporary guise. We tried it in truffle form this week, which, unlike mead, was something new to us, and we can safely report that if mead does indeed make a comeback, we’ll be raising our goblets in approval. 


 

Pumpkin beerDrinking... 

We’re having a major pumpkin push at the moment, so we were thrilled to find our favourite gourd in liquid form. This seasonal pumpkin ale from London’s Beavertown brewery is our ultimate Halloween product recommendation – turning up to a party with a four-pack of their super-stylish cans is guaranteed to give you kudos. 



 

Duck rilettesLunching on... 

There’s nothing new about duck rillettes. This serving method, however, is a whole different story. The jocular chefs at Piquet get a gold star for their dedication to the feathered cause, and we’re eagerly looking for a serving dish to beat their pottery duck. Nothing has come remotely close thus far… 



 

Vol au ventDining on... 

Bookending this week’s diary with a return to the vintage theme is another question to ponder - has the time come for vol-au-vents to step back into the limelight? Parisian-style restaurant Les 110 de Taillevent is currently serving a sensationally rich version with lamb sweetbreads and crayfish. A far cry from the dubious egg mayo and soggy creamed mushrooms that filled ‘vents of yore… 

 

 

Turkish eggsBrunching on… 

Turkish food shines on many fronts, but one particular national forte is breakfast, as demonstrated with aplomb by çılbır, a dish of eggs poached in yogurt. We sampled it at London’s The Providors and Tapa Room, Peter Gordon’s restaurant and hot brunch spot. His signature version is served drizzled in the traditional chilli butter, with toasted sourdough for dipping. Apparently, it’s a dish that was eaten by Ottoman sultans for centuries. Well, if it’s good enough for them…

 

SchnitzelDining on... 

Word from one of our food world moles is that German food is making waves on the New York food scene, so we reckon the tide will move towards the UK at some point too. If it means more schnitzel on menus, we’re more than pleased about it. We devoured a wiener version at traditional Viennese restaurant, Fischer’s, with added anchovy, capers and egg, that provided a mean hit of saltiness to offset all the fried chicken fabulousness. The day we see currywurst kiosks on the streets of Britain will be a very happy day indeed. 
 

Negroni puddingEnding our meals with... 

We’re never going to turn down the chance to try our favourite cocktail in dessert form, and we weren’t disappointed by this negroni jelly. The multi-faceted beast comprised Campari and vermouth jellies, gin granite, juniper meringue, violet flowers, Prosecco foam and a dehydratred orange slice. Not one we’ll be attempting to replicate at home, but one for which we’ll be returning to Canto Corvino for many years to come… While we’re talking wobbly things, we’d like to assert our view that boozy jellies deserve a major image overhaul and we’d like more of this classiness on dessert menus please. 

Hot chocolateShooting... 

Welcome to the world of a food stylist – days spent delicately stirring, colour matching and adjusting crockery one millimetre at a time. This week, we spent the day with Katy Greenwood, who brought our boozy hot chocolates to life. Anyone who can make beige and brown drinks look that beautiful is a talented soul. The deliciously indulgent recipes will be online too, so check back for such beauties as hazelnut cream hot chocolate. You’ll be thanking us come Bonfire Night. 

 

Nadiya HussainHanging out with... 

This week, we sat across from Britain’s most talked-about face at lunch – the nation’s new favourite baker, Nadiya Hussain. We can confirm she’s even better off screen, and our favourite discovery about her was the fact she carries a spatula in her handbag. We knew she was our kind of woman, but this sealed the deal for us… 



 

RadishesSnapping up... 

Radishes

There are only a few more weeks of radish season left, so before these crunchy beauties leave our lives for another year, we’re snaffling as many of them as we can. We’re outright stealing this lovely snack idea from London’s 8 Mount Street – radishes dipped in sea salt and cumin butter. We have until the end of October to make the most of them. On your marks, get set – dunk. 

Sesame molassesTrying for the first time... 

Sesame molasses

We doubt we'll ever get sick of salted caramel, but hypothetically speaking were we to look for a fresh alternative, sesame molasses is up there as a strong successor. Made from sesame seeds and carob molasses, this stiff spread looks a little like pale Marmite. Known in the Middle East as Carella, we tried it from Arabica, who recommend it spread on breakfast waffles. Don’t mind if we do… 
 

MartiniDrinking... 

Martini in an olive

There are few cocktails chicer than a Martini, and we know someone who agrees with us – Javier de las Muelas, who this month launched a London riff on Dry Martini, his Barcelona bar dedicated to the fine art of Martini making. The menu features classic, signature and experimental serves, although one of our favourite nuances was his dirty Martini, expertly served by his band of accomodating bartenders in an iced, olive-shaped glass, designed to keep the drink cold. Chic squared. 
 

Shaggy ink cap mushroomsPicking... 

Mushrooms

Right after we mentioned how much we’re coveting ceps in last week’s What We’re Eating, the mushroom powers from above granted our wishes and presented us with some urban shroomage. We spotted these shaggy ink caps while we were waiting for the bus - who says you can’t be at one with nature when you live in a city? This variety is one of the easiest to spot, thanks to its Marge Simpson-style bouffant do. But, take heed, there are versions that are semi-poisonous and react with alcohol, so as ever with wild mushrooms, if in doubt, don’t pick it out. 

Sushi burrito

Lunching on... 

Sushi burrito

Japanese and Mexican culinary titans collided over our keyboards as we lunched al desko on sushi burritos this week. The shape and addition of rice notwithstanding, there was nothing remotely Mexican about this roll of sushi rice, salad, chicken katsu and Japanese mayonnaise, cosily tucked in by a blanket of seaweed. It got us thinking about the huge potential of the burrito blueprint and our new mantra is if you can wrap it, rock it. 
 

Smores

Testing... 

On Monday, our test kitchen went all Star-Spangled chic as we experimented with s’mores, an American biscuit stack traditionally served around a campfire. We set out to expand upon the solid blueprint of a Graham cracker sandwich filled with marshmallow and chocolate by playing around with sweet and savoury s’mores for Bonfire Night. Watch this space for the fruits of our labour!
 

TempuraTrying for the first time... 

Proving that every foodstuff is improved with a coating of batter and brisk bathe in bubbling oil, this week we surrendered a large chunk of our hearts to samphire tempura, served with an extra-saline slick of creamy anchovy dip from Salon in London’s Brixton market. We’d like to see more unorthodox samphire dishes, and more tempura in general come to think of it… 


Pumpkin pancakesBreakfasting on... 

Since a pumpkin is for life, not just for Halloween, we’ve been tucking into autumnal gourds at every opportunity to hammer home our new favourite mantra. Cassie’s ingenious pumpkin pancakes are made by blitzing soft pumpkin with the ingredients for traditional American-style pancakes. The recipe made it into our October magazine, should you fancy giving it a go yourself... 

 

Arkansas beefLunching on... 

The cattle for Arkansas beef is raised in Kansas on a corn diet in free-range, humane conditions, and the cut served on  Bob Bob Ricard's Sunday menu is rump cap, which has an even layer of fat on one side and a delicate marbling that melts away during cooking. It was given a thoroughly British treatment at the Soho restaurant and was rubbed with English mustard, then served with roasties, parsnips and a Yorkshire pud. 


Rosemary muleDrinking... 

We loved this makeover Moscow mule served at The Dorchester. The rosemary mule is a combination of vodka, lemon juice, maraschino – a Croatian cherry liqueur – rosemary syrup and ginger beer, all topped with the aforementioned tuft of fresh rosemary. Refreshing, fruity, herbaceous, tangy and, last but not least, boozy - everything we'd ever want in a drink. 

 

Ceps and pheasantSnapping up... 

If you’re lucky enough to nab a haul of freshly-picked, autumnal mushrooms, ceps are seen by many as the crème de la crème of the funghi cosmos. Fresh versions of these dumpy, rounded mushrooms with a shiny brown cap are pretty tricky to track down, but you can also find them dried – also known in Italian as porcini – and they're just as flavoursome when rehydrated. Barney’s supper of pot-roasted pheasant with red wine and cep lentils couldn’t be more autumnal if it tried… 


BrowniesCraving... 

Salted pistachio butterscotch brownies… never before have four words, arranged consecutively made our mouths water so fervently. This fantastic formula was dolloped into squidgy chocolate squares made by B is for Brownies, a delivery service that bakes brownies to order, gift wraps them and sends them by post to your house. This recent start-up business is based in a house in Lincolnshire – we do love a grassroots enterprise. 

 

John TorodeHanging out with... 

This week, we released the results of our Good Food Nation survey, and we called upon the oratory skills of John Torode to spread the message far and wide. We managed to snap him preparing for an appearance on television in his fetching cycling gear, studying statistics in a rather pensive Shakespearean pose, offering a candid insight into his backstage practices. Perhaps on MasterChef, he plays the Macbeth to Gregg Wallace’s Macduff (without the tyranny and murder) as they rehearse.

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

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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