Food trends of 2017: what will the hipsters do?


What will the hipsters eat this year?


I had thought about trying to analyse the many lists of food trends for this year, to see if could reach a consensus of what were the really big things making food waves.

Well, turns out Eater (not to mention their big team of writers) got their first, and their list of all lists is most definitely worth a read. But analysing that, I would say from their leg work that these are things that are getting lots of noise so might be worth a taste or two. Unless you’re a hipster, in which case get busy on all of these!




Cauliflower Crust Pizza


Photo from BBC Good Food

Well, who am I to disagree with Bon Appetit and the James Beard Foundation, but I would have thought this one was beyond a trend now, and is now mainstream, but maybe not. They both say it’s the new kale, which hopefully means kale is over and done with. So, possibly time to start perfecting your cauliflower pizza crust or rice.




Vegetables may be about to rule the world


It’s a takeover. It’s all about the veg. Apart from where it’s about the return of proper butchers. Or maybe it’s more about balance than ever before. But Bloomberg, James Beard and the Telegraph are all backing veg for an even bigger role this year. Good news for vegetarians, that maybe there might be choices on the menu, which is probably good news for all of us.


Savoury Yogurts


Beetroot moves into dairy


Maybe this is the spin off of the rise of vegetables, and that they are just taking over everything. Apparently could be beetroot, carrot or sweet potato amongst others. Waitrose say it’s a thing, and the Telegraph reported it.

Beetroot from Pinterest.




Sprinkle as though you're a 7 year old!


Enough with the healthy stuff, this is a trend all about full on, technicolour desserts, overflowing with sprinkles and other sugary stuff. It was a trend from the James Beard Foundation, but pulling on reports from the New York Times, BuzzFeed and the Washington Post, not to mention all over Pinterest. But if it’s a dull night in January, then I say bring on the sprinkles.


Filipino Food




I thought that Japanese Peruvian food was going to be the thing, or maybe just because that’s the last course we went on. But according to Bloomberg and Food Network, Filipino food is the next thing. It could be great, as they describe it as the original fusion food, with influences from Chinese, Spanish, Malay and other South Eastern Asian cuisines amongst others. We will all know more about lumpia, longganisa and kinilaw by the end of the year. To be fair, we haven’t even got a Wahaca yet in Nottingham, so it may take some time to experience this locally.


These lists don’t really matter, you can just ignore them as you choose. Or you can have fun exploring some of them. Which to me is what food should really be about.

Now, pass the sprinkles please.


First foodie gift challenge for this Christmas


You may remember that last week I offered, Challenge Anneka style, to take on your Christmas gift challenges. First out was @DomesticJules from the Butcher Baker blog. And my brief was, well, brief!  It read: lazy male food fan. Age 25. Likes beer/whisky/rum, Yo Sushi & food trends. Budget £20-£30

I know, it’s not rebuilding a village hall in 20 minutes, but love a good challenge. Here’s what I think might work:


* I wrote earlier in the year about the drinks by the dram service from Master of Malt, which would allow you to buy some very drink choices. £20.45 buys an Irish whiskey tasting set, or a premium rum tasting set will cost £24.45.  You could make up your own selection, with rum samples starting at £2.30 and whisky from £2.23. You could do whisky by country, by price, by year, whiskies with animals in their names (Famous Grouse, Pig’s Nose and Buffalo Trace perhaps?). Same applies to the rums, or mix them all up.



* Slightly over budget at £35 (but reduced from £50) is the Sake Experience at YO! Sushi from Red Letter Days. A multi-course meal will be accompanied by a variety of sakes to match the dishes, along with some expert notes. He also gets to take home some cups and a sake flask. Possibly worth googling to see if there are any additional discount deals running, or maybe cashback sites might bring this cost back in budget.



* If laying around with a good book might do the trick, then how about Amber, Gold and Black: The History of Britain’s Great Beers. He’ll get to know more than he ever thought he wanted to know about the huge variety of beers brewed across the UK. Or try Hops and Glory: One man’s search for the beer that built the British Empire. Great title, bound to be full of the kind of useless anecdotes that men seem to love.



* If you want to do something around actual beer, then Ales by Mail is a great source  from a huge variety of small breweries around the UK, as well as the US and Belgium amongst others. Either choose your own selection, or there a number of gift packs ready to go.



* Hmm, food trends. More tricky. I asked Dr Morgaine Gaye, as the only food futurologist I know, for her thoughts. Her first suggestion was Butch Cakes for Men, which is almost a great book title, and probably a great trend as well. Love the bacon on the cupcake idea, but then I’m one of those weirdos who love sweet and savoury tastes together. Her other suggestion was anything to do with marshmallows or wafers. Now, you could just pop to the corner shop for a bag of marshmallows and a packet of pink wafer biscuits. Or, for a laugh, try the My Mallow Cutting Kit at Firebox. Perhaps because it’s a trend, not much around as yet at a more sophisticated level!

So half a dozen ideas, almost all on budget, and hopefully to the brief! Be great to hear what you think, Jules, and even, eventually, what the recipient thought.

So, who’s next? Who’s got a new challenge for me?


What’s your number?


Mango Chutney from Jamie Oliver

I was interested to find myself being followed by Dr Morgaine Gaye on Twitter last week, who has the fabulous title of Food Futurologist. Which is an amazing title, and in my next life that’s what I want to be!

Her website and blog are beautifully designed, and there’s some great stuff on here. I loved the post on big bold numbers on food packaging, which does seem to be a real trend. For now! I love the observation that some of these are about dictating steps to follow, and some are because they might have run out of names!

It would seem most of these are yet to come to market, but I guess if you’re trying to buy for a shallow type of foodie who wants good looks as well as good taste, then these might suit for those who want to capture a trend:

* The chutney and pickles from Jamie Oliver were the ones that came first to mind for me, as their graphic labels have been out for about 18 months. Stylish labelling, and a number of choices including this mango chutney. As you’ll get from the label this is half a pound of chutney for £4. (UPDATE: sadly, this range is no longer part of what Jamie Oliver gets up to)


* Chocolate by Trish not only looks smart, but has done all the hard work, not only sourcing great chocolate, but this one gives you very tasty shards, all ready to be scattered over any dessert. There are also chocolate buttons to go at too, but definitely too good for the kids! (UPDATE: sadly this no longer seems to be available)


Calle 23 Tequila

* Tequila seems to have been going more and more upmarket, and Calle 23 fits the bill here. Founded by Sophie Decobecq, whose background is in the cognac industry, but has gone on to produce a fine tasting, and fine looking tequila, for savouring, not knocking back!

Tasty and trendy then! Check out Morgaine’s writing for interesting stuff around food developments and trends. You’ll find me scratching my head somewhere working out how to become a food futurologist. May settle for director of curiosity/nosiness though!


So, how was my crystal ball gazing?

What trends does your crystal ball show?


Back in December 2009 (which really does feel an age ago) I wrote a piece about what 2010 might bring for food and food lovers. So, should I give up the day job and take up with a crystal ball? Hmm, lets see…

* We’d all continue to rediscover the joy of homemade. Tick. But fairly safe bet I think. And even to back it for this year, as no sign of things getting imminently better. That said, according to Google trends, there were less searches on jam making last year than in 2009, perhaps suggesting we’re all properly set up now with equipment and into the swing of things.

* Not sure if politics is my thing, although we certainly got a change in government. My predicted swing to the right perhaps didn’t quite come off, and I’ve not noticed any great resurgence in nationalistic cooking. However, if we win the Ashes outright, then maybe we’ll see that happen. I did say I thought that nostalgia would reign big in food, and I think we’ve seen quite a lot of that, from traditional puds through to all the old fashioned sweets still going strong.

* An explosion in Turkish food. More like a damp squib I would say, but as food didn’t even feature in the official programme for Turkey’s year as European Capital of Culture then I guess I’m not really surprised. If it wasn’t important to them, it was hardly going to shake the world food scene. Shame, because I still think it’s a cuisine with an awful lot going for it. Which the citizens of Farnborough would seem to agree with, as they led the way in searches on Turkish food.

* I think growing your own salad probably did get a good look in, as we got quite a spell of sunshine, and there was continued featuring of the cost and conditions of bagged salad, not to mention a couple of e Coli cases linked to lettuce. Tomatoes appear to have been the most popular salad item to grow, which given their ease to grow even in small spaces is perhaps not great surprise. The fact that Nottingham leads the way in interest in the subject may be more of a surprise.

I’ve not done my Mystic Meg act yet for the year ahead, and I do wonder if much will change. Although there are two European capitals of culture this year: Turku in Finland and Tallinn in Estonia. I can imagine Finnish food having a moment (if only because it would allow me to buy the Moomins Cookbook) but Estonian? Not sure, will need some research as it’s a cuisine I know zero about. What do you think? Where’s food going this year and what will we all be worrying about?

Crystal ball shot by Richard Lamb Photography.


Knowing your audience


Know your audience - whatever your business is, you need to know who is interested!


In a completely different context, we were talking about knowing your audience the other day, which led onto a conversation about the blog. Now, I never think of having an audience, but I guess from looking at the search terms that land people here, you can work out a thing or two about the casual reader.

So, for the first 6 months of the year, the most popular searches to land here have been

1) Foodie gifts, and various derivatives thereof. Which, given the title, is really no surprise at all, and would be rather worrying if it wasn’t that popular! Hopefully there is plenty of scope to find what you were looking for, or even for things you hadn’t even thought of looking for.

2) Bedazzled Cupcakes. Great local cupcake company, who obviously have a lot of fans out there. I’ve written about them a couple of times, as I see them regularly at local food events, and MGG tends to make a beeline for them.

3) What is the difference between a mini Melton Mowbray pork pie and a mini pork pie? Say hello to my readers from Morrisons, who have ended up here with every combination of the question, which apparently forms part of one of their NVQs. Given our proximity to Melton Mowbray, we are well versed in the way of the pie and they feature fairly regularly on the blog.

4) SW4 Gin, which I think I’ve only written about once or twice. I still owe them a review, as they kindly sent me a bottle to try, and I’m going to to do a testing with this, Gordons and another of the new London gins. Only problem has been I seem to have a lack of gin loving friends, as BFF is a gin hater and not even prepared to have a sip.

5) Cobb Barbecue – a cooking system I’ve mentioned a few times but not tried yet, but obviously quite a few people are thinking about it. Lakeland seem to be the best source.

6) Three Chimneys Cookbook – I’ve featured many, many cookbooks, but this is the one that I obviously have decent rankings for! Great cookbook, great restaurant, amazing location.

7) Marmite XO – cannot abide the stuff, can’t imagine why you would want an XO version, but it would seem many do.

8) Save Water Drink Wine Framed Print – my sentiments exactly, and one of my favourite gifts this year. Available from Not On the High Street, and available as a print or useful shopping bag.

9) Bread making kits – not sure I’ve written about kits but I’ve featured the Panasonic Breadmaker a few times as well as great books on bread, not to mention breadmaking courses with Richard Bertinet.

10) Innocent bee friendly seeds – I talked about these when talking about some of the initiatives to support British honey bees. In case you’re interested, the seeds were a mix of snapdragons, poppies and cornflowers. Now you know!

An interesting mix, and interesting to look at the variations year on year. Last July was all about Delia Smith, red velvet cake and blood oranges. Ah, the fickle finger of foodie fate, in one year, out the next!

Audience photo by jot.punkt on Flickr.


New things making the news across the pond


Sonoma Syrup - best foodie gift


It’s that time of year again when the Fancy Food Show has been on in New York, and the NASFT  Awards are handed out. Last year it was all about blood oranges, which I have seen making appearances in various forms in delis, but not in huge quantities.

And this year? Well, no such clear cut trend, although the blood orange still featured in one Gold winning product: a Blood Orange Sorbetto from G.S. Gelato & Desserts. Some interesting flavours on offer, and a tasty choice for those on dairy or gluten free diets.

A special mention for the team at Fever-Tree, as their Ginger Beer won outstanding cold beverage. Fantastic news, love their products, and love that they doing well in the US. For a place full of corn syrup sweetened sodas, this must come as a refreshing change with a bit of bite. I might need the ginger beer to take away the taste of another winner though: peach balsamic vinegar. Sounds revolting to me, and why does it need messing with? But hey, I’d give it a try, in the name of research.

American chocolate has had a bad name for a long time, and certainly the count bar type stuff is terrible, but the artisan stuff that has been going on has been fantastic. I like the sound of the Sesame Toffee Tiles from Poco Dolce, perfect combinations of sweet and salty: toasted sesame seeds, toffee, plain chocolate and grey sea salt.

Winner of their food gift category was the Extract Gift Set from Sonoma Syrup Co. This is a box of multi-purpose syrups, that you could use in everything from coffees to pouring over ice creams. The gift set contains three bottles, one each of Vanilla, Almond and Lemon. I can’t see a source for them here in the UK, so one to look out for on my next trip to the US.

If you want to check out the full list of winners, to perhaps gain points on the unusual foodstuffs in your cupboard awards, then you can see the list here. Have fun!


The Friday Five – All Greek to me


Hanging out at the kafenion


I’m off on my annual visit to Cyprus soon, which means a great amount of eating good, local food. With the exception of a night at a good Chinese, it’s local all the way for me. Some of my most memorable meals have been at a kafenion in the mountains, especially the homemade feta with watermelon.

Greek food all around the mainland and islands is hugely under-rated in my view, and there is such a lot to go at. Perfect for summer eating, there is such a lot to work through from savoury to sweet, and appreciation seems to be growing. Here’s some food for thought:

1. Vefa’s Kitchen – I’ve featured this one before, as part of a collection of books that you don’t want to carry home. This is five and a half pounds of working through the huge scope and variety of Greek food from its widest reaches, and from stuff you’d recognise from your local Greek restaurant through to regional specialities you may not have come across. If you’ve already worked your way through The Silver Spoon and I Know How to Cook, this is your next step!

2. Culinaria Greece– to be honest, if you’ve bought Vefa’s, you probably don’t need any other Greek cookbooks. But if your shelves can’t cope with the weight of that one, then this is a good guide to regional cookery. Organised by region, this will give you unusual dishes to work through without the weight. Plenty of illustrations make this a joy to look at.

3. The Greek Vegetarian– although I end up eating grilled meat or fish a lot in Cyprus, I also find it’s one of the easiest places to not eat meat and feel like I’ve had a fabulous meal. From saganaki through to spanakopita, all my favourites are here, and then a whole heap more. Wonderful eating, and not a bit of Quorn in sight!

4. My Greek Family Table – I’ve been lucky to enjoy some wonderful hospitality in various homes around the island, and have never come away hungry, regardless of the time of day. Eating, and eating together is a massive part of the culture, and food is at the centre of everything. This is a great book of home cooking recipes and would give you some amazing choices if you wanted to have a big get together with a difference.

5. The Complete Book of Greek Cooking – I love the sound of this book, as it was put together so that the newly married couples of the congregation would have the recipes of the old world, that hadn’t been written down. It also raises money for the church. Keep traditions going!

I’ll be working my way through some of these recipes whilst away, but preferably with someone else cooking them! Full reports to follow! Yiamas!

Great kafenion shot by margaretha_hopfner- thank you all’s photos on Flickr.


The Friday Five – Cookbooks for the New Age of Austerity


Time to tighten our belts! The new age of austerity beckons


So, George Osborne is with us, and we have to remember he promised us an age of austerity as he starts with the cuts. Given that everyone has been talking about whether or not that might include putting VAT on food and books, I’m in for a double whammy. So before that happens, here’s 5 books that could help herald the way I’ll be needing to cook within the near future! And in true austerity measures style, I’ll be ordering them secondhand!

1. Good Eating: Suggestions for Wartime Dishes – a great reprint of a book from when austerity was your life, not a lifestyle choice. Whilst these might be old recipes, they seem perfect for the times we’re living in. I bought a copy of this at a National Trust shop, and I would say it was a bit of a national treasure. It’ll cost you a little more than the original 2’/, but you can get a used copy from£1.45.

2. Feeding the Nation by Marguerite Patten – talking about national treasures, if anyone knows how to cook well in times of austerity then it has to be Marguerite Patten. Fabulous for producing comforting, nostalgic food that will take you back in time, and not break the bank. And the recipes produce surprisingly tasty results. Except Stuffed Marrow. I don’t care how austere it gets, I am not eating stuffed marrow!

3. Ministry of Food: Thrifty Wartime Ways to Feed Your Family Today by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall – I’ve written about this book before, and think it’s great that the Imperial War Museum has really caught the food mood of the nation. I guess this is the modern day version of Marguerite’s book, and the illustrations are lovely in this, so it’s a beautiful looking book as well as interesting with good recipes. Whether George would approve of pretty things in austere time, but what the heck! If you look at the posters of the time they have a beauty of their own, so go for it!

4. Frugal Food by Delia Smith – oh yes, another national treasure to help us through austere times. Now, this classic has been updated recently, but the original version is available from only 1p, so it would feel much more appropriate to buy that version! You know what you’re getting with a Delia recipe, so I would think they would all turn out tasty recipes that are not overly complicated, and hopefully not too expensive!

5. The Workhouse Cookbook by Peter Higginbotham – well, I don’t think George has suggested bringing back the workhouse, but who knows? If you want to get a view on what might be in store from a food perspective, then this is the book for you. Plenty of photos to show you it was no holiday camp, but apparently the food was more varied than you might think. If you want a slightly depressing, but interesting, day out, then I can recommend a day at The Workhouse at Southwell. It’ll make you want to boost your savings!

I don’t think we need our ration books yet, but a bit of belt tightening may be in order. Which probably means more people will discover the benefits of local and seasonal cooking! Ration book photo by WolfieWolf over on Flickr.


Buzzing about National Honey Week

Save the Bees

I missed this last week by being in Hong Kong, but honey and bees seem to be a very hot topic at the moment. I love that Harry Eastwood was working with the Honey Association on recipes for the week, as I’m a huge fan of hers (as my well thumbed copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache would testify!).

Everyone wants to talk honey and preserving the bees, it’s definitely one of the foodie causes de jour. Want to support the cause or get involved? Here’s a few of the things that have caught my eye:

* For the urban wannabe(e) beekeeper, then they’ll probably be lusting after a Beehaus. From the people who brought us the Eglu, the Beehaus makes some parts of beekeeping modern and cool. Although not the outfits. And they’ll sell you the bees too. Don’t underestimate this service, ours is still a virtual hive as we are bee-less.

*Check out the limited edition from Innocent which is Lemons, Honey & Ginger, noticeable for the hive picture on the front. This is their “buy one get one bee” campaign, which will help to install beehives across the sites of the National Trust and the Federation of Irish Beekeepers. It also comes with a packet of bee friendly seeds for you to make your own garden a bit more bee friendly. Personally, I didn’t like the smoothie, as it mainly tastes of banana and a little honey, and I’d have liked a bit more of a ginger kick. But, hey, the bees are happy!

* If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, then I highly recommend a read of A World Without Bees. The stats are frightening, both in terms of how quickly they have been dieing out, as well as the impact on the environment, agriculture and the economy. Not the happiest read, but interesting.

* Probably the most famous urban beekeepers are those at Fortnum & Mason, where there are famously hives on the roof. You can buy honey from the rooftop of the London store, or the more rural bees of Salisbury Plain. They also have honey from around the UK, from Scotland to Wales, as well as New Zealand and the Pitcairn Islands. I imagine the carbon footprint is quite high on the last two!

* Manuka honey is supposed to have huge health benefits. Whether this applies when you use it in vodka I’ve no idea, but I would imagine I might feel a bit better with a shot of 42 Below’s Manuka Honey Vodka. I’m rather liking the sound of Honey on the Rocks, a bit like a more interesting version of Beechams by the sounds of it!

* Many beekeepers are very small producers, so you are most likely to find their produce in your local shops and at your farmer’s market. Keep a look out for them and do what you can to support them. Remember if you are shopping anywhere else to look for a named country of origin on your honey, as everything just labelled honey can be made from blends of honey from all around the world. Or from cheapest sources available. Honey isn’t cheap, but it’s worth paying that bit more for to support the systems that support great beekeeping practices.

* If you don’t want to go down the whole beekeeping route (I’ve seen the outfits, it’s not for everyone) then you could just do your bit by making whatever space you have for growing things more bee friendly. Most of the seed companies have caught onto this trend and give you some good views on what to buy.  Crocus have Bee Attract Seed Mix, Sarah Raven offers a great option with Garlic Chives (bees love them and you can eat them) and Thompson & Morgan have 61 different bee friendly options.

So, you might be like me and missed National Honey Week, but it’s never too late to get involved and support our beekeepers, and our bees.

Bee campaigner snapped by Kevin Krejci over on Flickr.

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What I need to survive a flight with Virgin


I'm a foodie, fly me


If you blinked, you may have read my original version of this, but the friendly hackers came back so this is a revised version. Tomorrow night I’ll be at the airport, waiting to head off to Hong Kong, very briefly. And I’m lucky, because I’m flying my favourite airline, and I’m turning left.

So, it’s not all bad, but really, if Virgin want to make it brilliant, then these are the things that would keep this foodie happy:

* Release the menus in advance. Really, I’d love to know what to expect on the plane, and even more so what will be in the Clubhouse. Then I can decide if I’m eating before I get onboard (which I want to) or if I need to bring my own. Unlikely, I’ve never been horrified by a meal on Virgin, but never been knocked out either. That honour goes to the satay on Singapore.

* Tell us about your food sourcing policy. I’m fascinated that organic, seasonal and local seem to not figure large in airline menus. BA mention it for their First class dining, but not much sign of it anywhere else. I know it’s a difficult operation, that it’s not exactly a Michelin starred kitchen in the sky, but transparency would be nice. Lets see what the starting point is, I’m genuinely fascinated. Although got a knock back from the Virgin press office on my enquiry.

* Don’t whack the heating up after dinner. We know why you do it, but enough already. I loathe hot rooms, especially when I want to sleep, and I will want to sleep tomorrow.

* Don’t be offended when I turn down the synthetic sleepsuit. Really, hot cabin plus synthetics…urghh! Oh, and I’ll bring my own socks, thanks. Cashmere socks make every class better!

* Don’t tempt me with more than one glass of champagne. Unless you’ve got Dom Perignon on. In which case I could stretch to two. Just.

* Please book David Tennant into 5A or 7A. I’ll skip all the miles and points, give up my silver card, just for this one teeny little favour. I’ve flown with you for 20 years, surely I deserve this little reward?

In the meantime, I’m on operation hydration in advance of the flight, and trying to work out if I need to sleep tonight or be really tired tomorrow. Will be reporting back on what foodie points the flight scores. Unless they grant my  last wish, in which case I may have fainted and not touched the food!

But it’s an interesting question, what would a foodie airline be like? What would your priority be?

Fabulous airline shot by eisenbahner over on Flickr.