Food Club May 2016


Here comes summer – or does it?

What a strange April it has been! From cold, wet and windy, to some glorious and sunny afternoons. But what has been happening in the food world?

So, sales of takeaway pizzas have dropped by 9% in the UK in the last year, and those sold in supermarkets by 5% – quite surprising with all the deals on offer.

What is currently trending in the UK – we take a look at new Japanese food (which is apparently replacing the ubiquitous Italian pizza) – it’s lighter and low in calories, as well as being pretty tasty. It would appear that we Brits have regained our desire for Japanese comfort food, as okonomiyaki  hits the big time. Low in carbs, it is more of a pancake texture than a pizza, with the base being made from eggs, flour, water and sweet cabbage. Then the excitement begins – there are more toppings available than you can count! This new addition to the menu is going down a storm, and at only around £3.90 (currently), they are rising stars in the food industry.


Another Japanese food gaining in popularity even though it has been around for a while is gyoza, tasty dumplings with various fillings that now have a whole restaurant dedicated to them in Covent Garden. Healthy, fast food is on the up again, as opposed to long dinners in the evening, giving people the opportunity of a quick bite after work, or a later evening meal with friends.

More exotic fruits are also hitting the headlines – fruit from South America, in particular the granadilla, which is similar to a large passion fruit, but much sweeter – use as a topping on cheesecake, at the bottom of a crème brulee or drizzled over a pannacotta – deliciously yum!

It’s going to be an interesting summer! Get the barbecues out – we review some cheap and cheerful versions, along with what has been voted one of the best buys by consumer magazine, Which. What could be more pertinent  – burgers are back on our summer menus, with many variations sold by both supermarkets and independent butchers. But better still, make your own…. If you are stumped for ideas, try our very own special Sweet Chilli Burger recipe – it’s a winner!

(Sweet Chilli Hamburger)

Great Bowls of Fire!
We know gas barbecues are easy, convenient and a lot cleaner to use, there is no doubt that your steak tastes better on a charcoal one.

Gaining status in the celebrity world, the Kadai Firepit is popping up in the gardens of the rich and famous, and even those of us that don’t have huge incomes. Made by Joss Thomas of Indigenous, its simple style of recycled oil drums is absolutely stunning and a definite showpiece. Easy to light, unlike some charcoal barbecues it is a little expensive (between £150-£300) but the investment is worth it. The fire will continue to burn for 5 hours or more, and if you want to barbecue in the winter, this is your man – it acts literally as a fire as well. Will last many years, outweighing its initial investment. One to impress for certain.

At the other end of the gas spectrum, we have the ‘bucket brigade’ – cheap and cheerful transportable buckets that cost under £10 and can be thrown in the back of the car for impromptu barbecues on the beach. But beware, they are slow to light  and to last long enough. Can only be used a few times before throwing away, and there have been incidents of the bottoms falling out whilst on fire. Maybe a quick fix, but not worth the money. Available in most supermarkets and DIY stores.

Enjoy the summer. Experiment with new marinades and rubs for your meat and fish, or new dressings for unusual salads. Happy eating!

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