Aside from diets, exams and general post-Christmas blues, with January comes every foodie on the planet predicting the crazy food and drink trends that will triumph in the coming year. As in the fashion world, food trends come in and out of vogue before we’ve even realised. 2014 brought a bombardment of ancient grains, pop up restaurants, and kale in just about everything. What does 2015 have in the storecupboard?
1. Eating vegetables is cool
Last year food bloggers such as Deliciously Ella and sisters Hemsley and Hemsley plagued the weekend supplements of the nationals with their focuses on plant-based dairy and gluten–free cooking. Suddenly it became cool to eat sweet potato brownies and drink kale smoothies for breakfast. Vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free outlets will also see a surge in popularity, as we’re reminded that the benefits of vegetables (high-fibre, nutrient-packed, and low in calories), should be reaped. The commercial food world is endorsing the interest in vegetable-based meals; popular chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi has dedicated his new book to the world of grains, vegetables and legumes. In York, Goji serves up exclusively vegan and vegetarian food, while El Piano restaurant offers vegan and gluten-free tapas.
2. Fermentation and pickling
Pickling vegetables isn’t exactly a new concept, but food bloggers and chefs predict a rise in its popularity. Think kimchi (traditional Korean pickled cabbage), kombucha (fermented tea) and kefir (a fermented milk drink popular in Eastern Europe). DIY pickling of onions, courgette, carrots, and garlic in oil, garlic and vinegar solutions will be experimented with by many. Mason jars aren’t just for jam-making.
3. Cauliflower is the new kale
No longer the bland vegetable that your mum slathers in cheese every Sunday. Cauliflower has undergone a healthy transformation; packed with nutrients and a perfect grain-free replacement for carbohydrates, that will leave you feeling full without piling on the calories. Think cauliflower base pizzas, cauliflower rice à la Gwyneth Paltrow, and even grilled cauliflower ‘steaks’. Owingto its carb-free nature, it is also a great gluten-free option.
4. Restaurants selling obscure products
The opening of the rather hipster Cereal Killer Café in East London was widely discussed in 2014. A minimum price of £2.50 gets you a bowl of one of the 120 cereals on offer, which includes American favourites such as Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms. Recently, there was news of the opening of a crisp sandwich café in Belfast aptly named, Simply Crispy. Perhaps pudding cafes will become popular; it doesn’t seem too ‘out there’ to imagine food outlets dedicated to pies or cheesecakes on our high streets. In line with the popularity of ‘eating raw’ could be the rise of raw cafes, serving raw main meals, cakes, truffles and cacao-based beverages.
5. Grazing and small plates for sharing
Maybe we have smaller appetites, or maybe we’re just eager for a little bit more selection when we dine in restaurants. Small plates aren’t just restricted to restaurants serving up Spanish tapas, they can also be found in trendy London restaurants and across a variety of cuisines such as modern British.
6. Overnight oats
A well known breakfast among food-bloggers and clean eaters, overnight oats provide a delicious make-ahead breakfast on the go. Simple to make with the help of a mason jar, the combination of oats, Greek yoghurt and milk can be made to your taste with the addition of fruits, nuts and seeds. A healthy breakfast that helps to lower ‘bad’ choleseterol and keep you full until lunchtime, the benefits of this oat-based breakfast are sure to appeal to many.
7. Sweet things go savoury
Courgette cake and beetroot chocolate cake aren’t new concepts, but we will see an increase in vegetables appearing in a variety of sweet dishes. Vegetable yoghurts and savoury ice cream are set to make an appearance this year, expect carrot, tomato and squash flavours, as well as twists on classic sweet treats, such as bacon and pumpkin fudge. The UK’s first savoury ice cream parlour arrived in the form of a pop-up store in August, installed by the cracker company Jacobs, with featured flavours including blue cheese and cream cracker and ale. While not crisps in the conventional sense of the word, fruit crisps can satisfy your craving for something sweet without reaching for a chocolate bar. The fruit is air or freeze dried to form crispy, sweet treats in a range of flavours.
Quinoa has had its taste of fame. This year the supergrain spotlight is on freekeh (pronounced fari-kah), a grain hailing from the Middle East, and made from green wheat. The grain is used in the same way as quinoa; a lighter alternative to cous cous, or perfect in salads. UK supermarkets will start to stock the grain from the start of this year.