Food Club September 2016
As we begin to see the end of the summer months and long daylight hours, our thoughts turn to making the best of Autumn and Winter produce.
We would also like to welcome the increase of our readers from overseas as we celebrate another successful year at Live to Eat. With focus on our own UK fresh produce and trends, we thought we would take a look at our far-flung relatives in the US and Australia, just to see what they are eating as part of their daily lifestyle. There is no doubt that whatever they are currently consuming, at some point, it will appear here, if we haven’t already done it ourselves!
With over 30% of the Australian population born outside the country itself, there are bound to be some influential food trends. Modern Australian cuisine is very much embraced as a fusion between the European and Asian influences, but more indigenous local produce is hitting the restaurants and food outlets, with the rise of some great Australian chefs featuring locally grown produce that has not been featured before. We can honestly say, that many chefs are going back to ‘bush tucker’ ingredients, dating back to when many Australians were ‘hunter-gatherers’ and relied upon this for subsistence. Let’s just say it is a little more refined now!
Chefs such as Peter Gillmore (The Quay), Shannon Bennett (Vue de Monde), Dan Hunter (Brae) and Ben Shewry (Attica) have taken inspiration from the natural pantry ingredients, as well as fish, kangaroo, wallaby and plants and seeds not readily available outside their homeland, combining these with the more obvious produce at hand. You can expect to see:
Small berry like fruits, with a spicy apple flavour
An antioxidant rich style of spinach (purportedly eaten by the crew on board the Endeavour (Captain Cook)!
Used in desserts (and some savouries) flavour varies between crosses of apricot, mango, peach – some have a slightly bitter flavour (featured above).
A bitter sweet tuber – an acquired taste unless mixed with other ingredients or soaked in water to remove initial bitterness.
The list has become endless of new (but old!) produce currently being used by chefs and on sale in markets. Look out for dishes inspired with gum leaves, saltbush, lemon aspen, sea parsley and bottlebrush flowers!
Make sure you watch Australian Masterchef to see some of the dishes made by the current top chefs!
Across the Pond – the USA
Whilst burgers still remain as one of the USA’s favourite foods, with over 120 billion consumed every year, there are other significant trends appearing. Whilst top restaurants still continue to develop interesting dishes with varying worldwide influences, there is still very much a focus on ‘healthy’ ingredients, which according to Google Analytics, is very much ‘west coast based’. This desire is also reflected in many of the large food suppliers rebranding their products with more appropriate names in order to latch on to the meteoric rise of certain foods.
This continues through restaurant menus – pasta dishes are still on the wane, protein is top of the list and gluten free is catching up at a fast rate of knots. Paleo still remains as ‘the diet to do’. Takeaways are being usurped by ‘take to’s’ with companies such as Uber and Amazon top of the delivery company lists….and we thought Amazon was purely a book/CD and houseware kind of supplier here in the UK?
The USDA record that iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and potatoes once comprised 60% of the country’s consumption of vegetables – this is also changing rapidly. With meat consumption becoming ‘nose to tail’, vegetable consumption is now becoming ‘root to stem’, with every part of the vegetable being used and no wastage in many US restaurants, and with the meat element being moved into the category of ‘side dish’! Such a restaurant is Al’s Place in San Francisco, where the plates served literally look like a prize exhibit in a top art gallery – here the meat and fish are listed as sides. Must be good – it was voted as one of the top restaurants at the end of 2015.
What do you think? If you are one of our US or Australian readers, we would love to hear your views on current diets at home.