My attitude to always cooking from scratch has relaxed greatly over the years. I do try to, but sometimes life is too short and I am simply too tired. I wrote about using ready made products a few years ago. There are some pretty good jarred and bottled products out there – many of which I have been exposed to by virtue of this blog.
Surely it is better for someone to assemble their first lasagna with the aid of both a white and tomato sauce than to buy a ready made microwave meal? The seemingly ever increasing number of celebrity chefs and high end cookery programmes goes hand in hand with food poverty and a lack of kitchen skills. It seems as a nation we watch cooking for entertainment rather than to be able to replicate it. Possibly it is time for a return to the late 1990s and a new Delia to remind us how to boil eggs?
Apparently London has around 37 thousand food outlets, that is one for every 220 people – I wonder if this explains how few new restaurants succeed, or if many people eat out far far more than I do? Some research analysing blogs, tweets and restaurant menus has pinpointed the food trends for 2014 (and of course by writing about them I am fuelling a self fulfilling trend).
Mashups continue to be big – with a fusion of classic French and American dining (does this horrify some of the French as much as I feel it must?), the burger and hot dog is here to stay – a satisfying combination of carbohydrate and protein it is ideal to be given a global spin with different toppings and flavours. Although no longer in vogue tapas style small plate dining is here to stay – happily for me as I love mezze style food, I can hedge my bets and try many different dishes. “Dude food” with its big flavours, meaty, spicy and comforting is too good to be left just for the guys. Chilli stands out in all its fiery glory – think speciality and specific types of chilli. Regionally Persian, Israeli and Greek dishes are all popular.
John Quilter, “the kitchen busker” and one of the team behind the rather good Cru coffee who are developing bio-degradable coffee pods, took us on whirlwind tour of dishes inspired by the food trends using some Loyd Grossman sauces. Lobster Thermidor Mac & Cheese – Comte macaroni cheese cooked with lobster and some samphire. Top tip: reheat the lobster claws in a pan containing a mix of butter and water.
Extra crispy Korean friend chicken served with a rich sauce made with tomato and chilli sauce, gochujang, sesame oil, honey and sesame seeds. With a vodka based batter the alcohol will evaporate as soon as it hits the hot oil making it super crispy.
Sashimi dressed with apple soaked in mirin and a Thai green sauce mixed with mirin and brown rice vinegar. Seal the apple and mirin into a vacuum bag to intensify the flavour.
Iberico Pork Schnitzel were served with a sauce made from the tomato sauce with breadcrumbs, toasted almonds and herbs.
Oxtail sliders came with an intense woody sauce of the tomato and red wine sauce with herbs, root vegetables and cloves.
Lastly nut milks are on trend and were used in a soft pannacotta with Amaretto peaches and biscotti crumbs.
Delicious, innovative and inspiring dishes, which I really enjoyed. I thought that the quality of the sauces was very good, and would have never have thought of using a ready made sauce as a component in a far more complex dish.
Verdict – keep a jar or two in the cupboard for when you need a kitchen shortcut or want to quickly get creative.
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Loyd Grossman Sauces, we received a selection of sauces and were incentivised to attend the event with a supermarket voucher. All opinions are our own.