With every new year comes a host of new flavours and products – from CBD oil (a chemical compound extracted from hemp) to drinking vinegars – but thanks to the cyclical pattern of culinary trends a clutch of age-old ingredients will find themselves back in favour in 2019. Stout and mead will make the mainstream, while ox liver and sweetbreads creep back into the home cook’s repertoire, joined by laver bread and rabbit on restaurant menus.
Those who wish to eat better, drink less, and save the planet as they do so, will be aided by developments in eco-friendly food packaging – single-use plastics are on their way out, and there are more alternatives than ever.
The growth in veganism, meanwhile, makes the plant-based sector one of the most innovative – so add aquafaba and jackfruit to your lexicon, sprinkle pul biber over your breakfast, and, for goodness sake, ditch the phone at dinner time. It’s time to eat…
Draining chickpeas has become serious business – use a jug to capture the sludgy water from the tin that once went down the drain. Known as aquafaba, this liquid whips up like egg whites and hit prime time on this year’s Great British Bake Off vegan week, when it formed the pavlova base in the technical challenge.
Expect to see more experimentation with the ingredient in 2019, from vegan cocktails to dairy-free mayonnaise – and perhaps even on the Scrabble board (scoring 22 points), since the word debuted in the game’s dictionary this year.
B…for Bee’s Wrap
Forget cling film – next year our lunch box sandwiches will be in Bee’s Wrap. The sheets, made from organic cotton and coated with beeswax, are washable, reusable and compostable. No surprise that Lakeland’s sales of Bee’s Wrap products have seen a 60 per cent month-on-month increase, while sales of single-use plastics such as cling film and freezer bags are down (see letter R). Bee’s Wrap reusable food wrap from £7.99 (lakeland.co.uk); see also The Beeswax Wrap Co. (beeswaxwraps.co.uk)
The cannabidiol (CBD) oil market is predicted to be worth $2.1 billion (£1.6 billion) by the end of the decade. Extracted from industrial-grown hemp, it’s not psychoactive but has wide-ranging health benefits.
Young drinks brands are leading the way: High Tide’s CBD-infused cold brews promise the taste of coffee without that “anxious and jittery” feeling, while Green Times Brewing promotes the “relaxing after-effects” of its High Flyer Session IPA. Since launching in Ocado last spring, Love Hemp water has been “a hit” with customers according to Ocado’s buying manager, Vimal Solanki, who predicts there will be more to come.
D…for Darjeeling Express
2019 is shaping up to be another big year for Asma Khan, who will be the first Briton to feature in the Netflix series Chef’s Table in spring. Her Soho restaurant, Darjeeling Express, started as a supper club and its dishes are still cooked by a troupe of housewives. Try a taste of Khan’s masala chai and cardamom cakes at Calcutta Canteen, a pop-up Indian tea room, running in Carnaby Street until February 2019. Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London W1 (darjeeling-express.com).
E…for eco straws
Many of us are keen to find an alternative to the 8.5 billion plastic straws that end up in landfill each year.
British bars are exploring eco-friendly options made from materials such as wheat and bamboo, but first prize surely must go to Fortnum & Mason for creating the ultimate handbag accessory: a silver-plated straw, created for “your sipping convenience”… at a cost of £15 (fortnumandmason.com). For cheaper reusable options look to Lakeland and EcoStrawz (ecostrawz.co.uk).
F…for flavoured tonic water
Attention will shift from the main player (G) to the supporting act (T), as flavoured tonic water booms. Whether it’s hibiscus- or cocoa-flavoured tonic, Ocado has seen sales grow 172 per cent over the past year (versus a 22 per cent increase in gin sales). Sainsbury’s research also suggests we are experimentating more during aperitif hour, reporting a 124 per cent increase in customers pairing botanical tonics with white port.
Look out for more product launches like London Essence Co., whose flavours include grapefruit and rosemary, and bitter orange and elderflower, as well as Cushiedoos – a premium Scottish tonic water which uses native botanicals: silver birch, wormwood, heather and yellow gentian.
G…for gallery dining
These days, galleries are just as much about the eats after the exhibition as the art itself. London developments range from Soane’s Kitchen at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery (home to Anish Kapoor’s scultpures in summer 2019), to EartH – an east London arts space, which offers duck rilettes and steamed ginger pudding cooked by Chris Gillard, a former St John executive chef. The Garden Kitchen at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge opened earlier in the year and is a beautiful spot for coffee and a light lunch, while The Tatha Bar and Kitchen on the top floor of the V&A Dundee does a strong line in haggis gnocchi and Arbroath smokie tarts.
H…for half bottles
Ocado has seen 30 per cent increase in sales of half bottles of wine this year, driven by conscientious drinkers keen to curb midweek drinking or cut down on waste.
“There’s definitely more interest” in the smaller serves, says the Telegraph’s wine corresponant Victoria Moore, whose personal pick is a 50cl bottle of Baron de Ley Reserva Rioja (£6, Morrisons). And there’s plenty to choose from, with Tesco and Aldi both bringing out new ranges this year, and Tanners, The Wine Society and Lea & Sandeman also offering good selections under 70cl.
When restaurants started providing tripods and fixing lighting for social media snaps, it was a sign that we’d lost our way, so respect to the brave few establishments putting their feet down. The Groucho Club and The Ned, in London, ban photography, while Frankie & Benny’s has launched an initiative where mobiles are deposited in a “no phone zone” box.
Tins of this – a spiky green fruit related to the fig and mulberry family whose edible interior has a similar texture to pulled pork and shredded chicken – started to crop up on supermarket shelves in 2018 and the ingredient has become a vegan staple.
Research and development departments have now gone into overdrive: Waitrose & Partners recently launched jackfruit biriyani and jackfruit chilli; Sainsbury’s is introducing a jackfruit quarter pounder in early 2019, while Marks & Spencer is launching their Plant Kitchen range in January, which includes a BBQ pulled-jackfruit pizza. It’s all part of a drive to offer even more plant-based meat alternatives in 2019.
This South Asian citrus fruit is sharper than a tangerine but sweeter than a lime – and is now available in juice form in the Cook’s Ingredient range at Waitrose & Partners. Try it in a ceviche marinade, à la Filipino restaurant Kinilaw and Buko, or in a cocktail like the Poet’s Dream at Nightjar in London, which stars gin and vermouth with kalamansi and pastis sorbet. Kalamansi juice, £3.95 for 60ml, Waitrose & Partners
L …for low calorie snacking
In 2018, Public Health England launched a new campaign: “100 calorie snacks, two a day max.” Since then, Ocado has seen a 26 per cent increase in sales of snacks with fewer than 100 calories. “Biscuits and potato crisps are no longer the only staples being bought by shoppers,” says Andrew Ayres, the company’s senior buying manager. “Innovations in plant-based, vegan and protein options allow customers to snack in a way that contributes to a balanced diet.”
So, it looks like Hob Nobs are out, and next year’s packed lunches will include pear crisps and salmon jerky instead.
M…for milk-free cheese
Decent-tasting dairy-free ‘cheese’ has long been the Holy Grail of vegan diets, with most fermented-nut and flavoured-tofu versions not cutting the mustard. One start-up is set to change all this.
Ellie Brown, founder of Kinda Co., wowed judges with her range of vegan cheeses at food founders’ festival, Bread & Jam (breadandjamfest.com). The £35,000 prize money is helping her scale up production of the cheeses, which are made from natural cultures and other healthy ingredients like miso and apple cider vinegar.
“We moved into a commercial kitchen a few months ago so thankfully I’m no longer co-habiting with multiple fridges and boxes of jars,” says Brown, who started production from her one-bed flat. “In the new year we plan to start supplying specialist supermarkets and independent delis across the country”. Look out for her white cheddar with cranberry (£6) or the faux lox and dill cream cheese (£7) on vegan lunch menus near you soon.
N…for new native
Sixty-two per cent of us make British dishes at home in comparison to just nine per cent cooking French classics, according to a recent survey. With renewed pride in our culinary heritage we will be reaching for native ingredients – like Gosnells’ new vintage mead (gosnells.co.uk), British-made birch syrup (thebirchsyrupcompany. com), and rabbit on restaurant menus – more than ever in 2019. Time to look closer to home.
Offal has been back on restaurant menus for some time, but when Heston’s latest Waitrose & Partners readymeal contained sweetbreads and veal chop, it marked offal’s official return to the home kitchen. This year, venison liver sales also rocketed by 35 per cent. “Liver seems to be back on our plates for good,” says Jonathan Moore, executive chef at Waitrose & Partners. “It was a staple ingredient in a variety of British dishes, right up until the Seventies,” he says, putting the revival down to the availability of more modern recipes as well as the nutritional benefits of the lean meat.
P…for pul biber
Nigella puts it on her Turkish eggs, Diana Henry tosses it through chickpeas, and Sabrina Ghayour sprinkles it over roast cod. There’s little doubt that pul biber is this season’s latest seasoning. Aleppo pepper is the most common variety of pul biber, but urfa pepper (from Turkey’s southern Şanlıurfa region) is growing in popularity, thanks to its dramatic dark sheen and raisin-molasses notes.
Unlike some paper-dry chilli flakes, a good pul biber is plump and glistening after being bagged and ‘sweated’ to retain its natural oils. Turkish cafes offer a pinch pot on their tables – perhaps it’s just a matter of time until a tin is nestled alongside salt and pepper in British caffs, too. Urfa pepper pul biber/Aleppo pepper pul biber, £3.50 (rootedspices.com)
Fusion ingredients show no sign of waning, and Las Iguanas clinches five stars for creativity with its quinotto, which recently launched in Sainsbury’s – think Italian classic risotto meets Peruvian quinoa, flavoured with smoked cheddar, roast cauliflower and sweetcorn. Las Iguanas Peruvian cauliflower and corn quinotto risotto £4 for 320g (Sainsbury’s)
R…for reusable plastic
Thanks to the Blue Planet Effect (after the BBC’s series II highlighted the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste which enters our seas each year), consumers are demanding reusable, recyclable or compostable food packaging. For a taste of things to come, see the the compostable nets, made from beech-tree pulp, used by Riverford to package fruit and veg.
The fastest growing beer variety in the UK, with Tesco seeing demand soar by 13 per cent. As long nights draw in, more brewers have been adding a chocolatey, dark pint to their portfolios. Black Sheep Brewery in North Yorkshire launched a milk stout in early autumn (blacksheepbrewery.com), and London restaurant St John even collaborated with 40FT Brewery to create an Eccles stout made with currants, dark brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg, to pair with their signature cake dessert.
T…for ‘try before you buy’
It’s not just art for sale on restaurant walls these days, but everything from pendant lights to the dining room chairs. From Ottolenghi’s new range of linen napkins, to the launch of Coal Office – a collaboration between designer Tom Dixon and restaurateur Assaf Granit – if diners like what they see, then it’s as simple as adding it to the bill and taking the furnishings ‘to go’.
U…for upcycled food
‘No-waste’ is more than just a economical concept… the movement has become inspirational in the restaurant industry. Food which was once destined for the bin is now being propelled to the top of the menu – from corn silk used to make syrup (at Scully, in Mayfair) to trimmed beef fat being used in beef fat tacos (Temper, in Soho). South London restaurant Lino even calls on the next door bakery for stale croissants to go in ice cream – happily accepting the crumbs from their table!
This everyday ingredient is going gourmet – no longer just a pickling staple, but now a finishing flavour. The Vinegar Shed has recently launched small-batch mandarin vinegar, while East London restaurant, Little Duck Picklery, is known for seasonal fruit vinegars like black cherry and cardamom, or spiced quince. For inspiration, look out for an upcoming book, The Vinegar Cupboard: recipes and history of an everyday ingredient (Bloomsbury, £26), which recently won The Jane Grigson Trust Award and will be in bookshops this spring.
W…for women in the industry
“Women are starting to assert themselves in hospitality sector,” reported industry magazine The Caterer this year. Though fewer than one in four chefs are female, momentum is growing. Earlier this year Clare Smyth’s first solo restaurant, Core, was awarded two Michelin stars and was named “top gastronomic experience”. Roberta Hall, head chef at The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh, won the Young British Foodie (YBF) award for chef of the year, and Ladies of Restaurants (LOR) continue to provide support for women in the hospitality industry with their (Eventbrite) meetings in London and Manchester.
The indigenous Greek grape is creeping onto serious wine menus. “Xinomavro is a red grape that tastes like a strawberry and thyme-scented Nebbiolo”, says Victoria Moore. Though once viewed as table wine, supermarkets are capitalising on its untapped potential – try Atma Xinamavro Greece (£11.99; Waitrose & Partners) or Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes (£10.95; The Wine Society).
Y…for yassa chicken
Western African cuisine will continue to bloom in 2019, turning national dishes into modern classics. Yassa chicken originates from the Casamance region in South Senegal – try the spiced-lemon chicken and onion dish at soul food pop-up Little Baoabab in London (littlebaobab.co.uk) and get familiar with mafe and jollof rice as West African flavours go mainstream.
Z…for zaru soba
Steaming hot ramen? So 2018! The coolest Japanese serve is just that: chilled noodles in a cool dipping sauce. “Zaru soba solves a few key noodle soup problems,” says Tim Anderson, chef and author of Nanban: Japanese Soul Food (Square Peg, £30).
“The texture of the noodles is preserved, as they don’t soften after a prolonged soak in hot broth,” he says. “It also maintains the noodles’ distinct flavour because they don’t absorb the flavour of the dashi.” Look out for more on menus this summer – beyond the zaru udon (£6.90) at Koya, and the zarus soba (£8.50) at Machiya, in London.
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