Navigating trends in food fashion, TRISH DESEINE finds an interesting GREEN SCENE emerging as AUTUMN ARRIVES …
Like it or not, food has become the new social currency and preferred form of artistic expression of the masses, and there are few signs that is going to change any day soon.
So instead of remaining in a constant, reactionary grump, muttering, “Making tomato sandwiches with sliced white pan never did ME any harm” or “What? I only just got used to ordering expresso and now they’re calling it ESpresso?”, let’s just dive in joyfully and go with the flow. After all, it’s only food.
Here, then, are some vital elements of your 2017 September food fashion survival kit, for all your competitive lunchboxing, glittering dinners en ville and post-holiday cocktail chitchat.
The Slow Food movement’s values, like all successful social disruptors, have become pretty much mainstream around the world, with many greener governments transforming their manifesto into policy, in Slow Cities and so on. These days, Slow Food is way more than that worthy brown stew full-of-all-the-bits-from-the-crisper bubbling away in your slow cooker, rather it’s an integral part of the Slow Living philosophy (read “lifestyle”). Since every morsel of slow food has been considered, nurtured and lovingly handled every step of its virtuous way into your eager mouth, get mindful with your mozza please, and remember no fewer than 40 chews could ever be enough to celebrate its existence and express your gratitude.
Flowering is the new foraging
Ah foraging, of all the impossible cheffy things chefs try to guilt us normal, real life cooks into embracing, foraging comes top of the list. Chefs want you to try harder and get “inspired” by the beauteous Irish bounty around you, no matter where you live. Those dandelions growing between the pavement cracks will make a delicious velouté or salad, garnished with any daisies tough enough to survive municipal spraying, and what do you mean that cordial you made last year from the elderflower growing alongside the dual carriageway tasted a bit “tinny”? Every year scores of people are taken to hospital after being poisoned by a rogue ’shroom or a dodgy handpicked mussel – when will we learn? Do it with Darina or Hugh in their fields and organic gardens, or not at all, I say.
Anyway, the word on the web is that foraging is soon to be outshone by “flowering” – the hobby formerly known as flower arranging. This is marvellous news, because it uses the urge we all have these days to get out into nature and translates it into super-accessible grasses and shrub-inclusive creativity. Whether you are making bouquets for a big party, an impromptu supper or a posy to put on your desk, the possibilities, and the pleasure, are endless. At the edible edges of the craze are, of course, a multitude of pretty flowers (now produced by expert growers in Ireland – like Bumblebee Farm in west Cork – who promise not to poison you!) to garnish our dishes.
Reducetarian or Flexitarian?
Just because the faddish, clean eating, “I-cured-myself-through-food-you-can-too, just-buy-my-book” quackery is at last being debunked by science and good sense, it doesn’t mean there are not some hot new food religions to join this September. Reducetarians are coming together to eat less meat, Flexitarians are pretty much of the same ilk, allowing themselves to dip into Veganism and Vegetarianism when it suits. It’s all so sensible and hopeful – and creative! But if you need a little direction, there are some great books around to help you change your habits. Melissa Clark, ex NYT, has published Dinner, a wonderfully delicious way out of the protein-and-two-veg cul de sac. I also like Bristol chef Elly Pear’s super practical new veggie book, Let’s Eat!, structured in three sections – Batch Cooking of freezable dishes, each with four different ways, “Building Blocks” of non-freezable things which can be part of lots of dishes, and finally whole curated
menus of for all sorts and sizes of gatherings.
Show your roots some love
It’s hard, I know, to look at an Irish cabbage with foodista eyes. Likewise our ubiquitous and unsexy turnips, beets and carrots (and you’ll notice I’m still not mentioning potatoes here). But after its undreamed of renaissance in stinky, burpy kimchi, it, along with its little cousins from Brussels, is hotly on trend this autumn in Paris. (Frilly purple Brussels sprouts are particularly pretty.) Slice the cabbage thinly, then brine it in salt and rice wine vinegar to soften. Make pretty ribbons of carrot and toss them with the drained cabbage with some good olive oil and some almonds for a light, nutritious slaw.
1. Roasted Brussels sprouts, apple and cheddar quiche
Sprouts are not just for Christmas. Cook them into this pretty green tart this September.
Serves 6 (20 minutes preparation; 35 minutes cooking)
400g Brussels sprouts, topped and tailed, quartered (or shredded)
2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
1 tart apple, peeled, cut into slices
1 garlic clove, peeled, chopped
200ml fresh cream
100g grated cheddar
Salt and pepper
1 roll ready made pastry
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180?C.
2. Put the sprouts, garlic and apple onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and season lightly.
3. Roast for 15/20 minutes or so, until they are softened and golden. (You can also give them all a spin in the frying pan if you prefer).
4. Line a 22/24cm diameter quiche dish with the pastry, put some baking parchment in the centre, weigh it down with baking beans and let it cook for 10 minutes or so, until the edges are light brown.
5. Whisk the cream with the eggs until blended and foamy, and season lightly.
6. Take the quiche base from the oven, remove the beans and parchment and arrange the
sprouts and apple evenly over the surface. Gently pour the eggy cream over the top, sprinkle the cheese over it all and bake for about 25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and brown, and the interior is puffed and golden.
7. Serve hot, warm or cold.
2. Cabbage slaw thai-style
A good compromise on kimchi. You might never reach for the mayo again.
Serves 2/3 (10 mins preparation time; 30 minutes resting time)
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of a lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 a small head of finely sliced white cabbage
1 onion (optional)
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 or 3 tbsp coriander leaves
A good handful of peanuts or toasted sesame seeds
1. Whisk the oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar together. Add the chilli flakes if using. Mix through the cabbage and onion and leave to rest for a good half hour before serving.
2. Garnish with the peanuts, coriander and more sliced lime.
Love THEGLOSS.ie? Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest fashion, beauty, interiors and entertaining news from THE GLOSS MAGAZINE’s daily dispatches.