2015: the year the Mason jar had a major moment - used to serve everything from layered salads, crumbles and cocktails, or smoothies exploding like volcanoes up and over the top.
It’s been the year that seemingly half the population quit sugar, cut out carbs and always said yes to butter. The year that barbecue hit the big time, that sous vide and molecular techniques started to retreat in to the shadows in favour of old-school cooking over charcoal and woodfire. As 2015 draws to a close we take punt and bet on five things set to be hot on menus round the country in 2016.
1 Fermented everything
Kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha gained a lot of traction this past year and the trend for fermented foods like these will continue to grow, as will the variety, with fermented dairy products like kefir and buttermilk making a splash on the scene. Lacto-fermented milk offers a plethora of probiotics that make for a happy gut and the slight sourness balances other sweet and spicy flavours nicely. Think kefir or buttermilk used to make salad dressings or marinate chicken before coating and frying. Kefir adds a probiotic boost and creaminess to smoothies. Also, yoghurt will go artisan, made from scratch from milk and culture. Homemade yoghurt can then be used to make labneh which will feature on more menus as Middle Eastern cuisine continues to become more sought-after.
2 Butter still reigns
And flavoured butters are a great talking point. There’s the more traditional herb or truffled but expect to see more inspired versions and not just in top restaurants where they’re served with bread to start, but in cafes too, where they’re the perfect way to make a scone 100 times more amazing and add excitement to any dish that features toasted bread. Think wasabi, miso, porcini, chipotle, kelp or on the sweet side lavender, rose geranium, apple or salted caramel.
3 Retro delights
Lamingtons, donuts and handmade burgers are among the nostalgic foods that have dominated recently and the trend will continue. Think sundaes with interesting twists like black sesame wafers and artisan bittersweet chocolate sauce, spiders with artisan sodas, scones with homemade clotted cream and chia seed jam, banana splits with bananas fried in butter, palm sugar and lime juice. In the savoury world mac n cheese will still be big (think interesting toppings and multiple cheeses in the mix).
4 Savoury biscuits
Oh yes, welcome to the brilliance that is biscuits without sugar. Made with good quality ingredients including plenty of butter, the savoury biscuit is the perfect vehicle for that other delicious thing, cheese. Keep it simple a la the Scottish oat cake or take it next level: chilli and cheddar, horseradish, cumin and cashew, parmesan and watercress.
5 Cheese curds, everywhere
They’re integral to that absurdly wonderful Canadian dish poutine: French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds - and they’ll soon be on menus here in many other guises. Cheese curds are easy to make, using whole milk, and some eateries are even injecting a bit of theatre by making them at the table. They might be made into croquettes, coated in crumbs and fried, or made into patties for a meat-free burger. They’re great in pierogi or other dumplings and integrated into potato gnocchi, and they are also brilliant in desserts and other treats to balance the sweetness.
Presented by Taste Magazine