Live To Eat Food Club January 2017


Here we go again – another year, changing food trends and restaurants springing up all over the place!

2017 is set to see continuing movement in food trends and the rise and fall of what was popular in the food industry in 2016. We also look at what to do with ‘leftovers’ of those treasured Christmas delights. At Live to Eat, we all checked our ‘use by dates’ and those of friends and family, and were quite astounded at the shelf life of many of the products. If we buy in advance, we all make sure that we can get past December 25th – but who was to know that certain foodstuffs in the more ‘luxury’ category, had such long consumption by dates?

Classic examples are the age-old favourites such as mince pies and panettone – many of these sold now have around 21-28 days shelf life! Panettones can be made into both breakfast and dessert dishes, whereas mince pies really are in the ‘strictly for pudding/dessert’ category.

Ideas for leftover Panettone/Mince Pies

For breakfast, simply slice pannetone and make ‘French Toast’, with a touch of icing sugar and maple syrup (indulgent, we know, but once in a while is perfectly acceptable!). Serve with some winter stewed fruit with cinnamon and a dollop of yoghurt – yum! You could make it more exotic but using another spice, such as star anise.

For dessert, make a luxurious and rich bread and butter pudding, with a hint of whisky or Cointreau and a flavoursome vanilla custard (and more fruit!).

Mince pies can be blitzed in the processor and used to form a crumble on the top of poached peaches or apricots, or the fillings can be taken out of the pastry and mixed through vanilla ice cream to make a bombe, which is then frozen, and can be eaten as is, or used in a baked Alaska, a dessert which is currently having a resurgence in popularity, topped with meringue. These are seriously for those with a sweet tooth!

If you still happen to have a yule log, get cracking and make a trifle, using mandarins as the fruit base. Chocolate and mandarins are a match made in heaven.

Just one more ‘leftover’ idea – use up any cheeses to make a delicious cheese pie. You can add leeks, onions or other vegetables with a lovely pastry topping, or make a soup using broccoli with the stilton as a dinner party starter. Get creative, and save money at the same time! You can also add leftover bacon or pancetta for a meatier finish.

2017 Food Trends

You will find some of these quite surprising. For the last 10 years, nutritionists and doctors have recommended whole grains as part of your daily/weekly diet. Scientists have now changed their minds (as they frequently do). Whole grains have decreased considerably in popularity and are rapidly disappearing from restaurant menus and carbs are back in favour as part of a balanced diet including plenty of protein, mainly gained from fish, lean meats and starchy vegetables – quite a shock to the system!

‘Mindful Eating’ is the new trend. By mindful we mean eating slowly, with all the food groups in the right ratios on your plate. You must savour each item on the plate, chew slowly and think about what you are putting into your body. This is an age-old Buddhist/Zen philosophy, which seems to work for them, so why not try it. Eating slowly is not a new trend in itself, and has always been recommended for digestive purposes. It’s worth a shot and is being introduced into spas and health retreats all over the world.

Trends are also veering towards more plant based foods, which will please the vegetarians and vegan hierarchy. On the way out is ‘dude food’ – burgers that are too big to get into your mouth, are being replaced by rich but vegetable based alternatives. Vegans and vegetarians are no longer being considered ‘weird’ or ‘fussy’ and a new wave of vegetable based dishes is on the increase.

Another new trend is towards ‘colourful eating’, encompassing the ‘mindful eating’ campaign. We all know that you eat with your eyes to start with, and more vibrant colours are appearing on plates in many restaurants. Needless to say, this is a trend which started in the USA, and has spread to Western Europe. Look out for some serious colours in your meals – dishes such as purple ube cheesecakes and blue algae lattes – matcha green tea is also still in evidence in cakes and buns.

‘Heat and Sweet’ – no longer the fiery chillis and curries that once adorned the restaurant scene – sweetness has been added. More subtlety but still that hint of heat and spice is now the name of the game in the larger visibility restaurants. But never fear, you will still be able to get your favourite hit of heat at your local curry house or Mexican restaurant!

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