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What could be better than chowing down on an old favorite that you’ve enjoyed a million times before? Discovering a whole new range of food-themed trends that are sure to take restaurants, cafes and even bars by storm over the next few months! While last year saw the emergence of rainbow ramen, plant-based dishes and a focus on the relationship between what we put in our bodies and how we’re feeling, in 2017, forward-thinking chefs, nutrition brands and trendsetters are aiming to change our mealtimes forever. Remember when you’d ask your mom for a slice of victoria sponge and she’d say cake isn’t for breakfast? Well, that’s just one trend that’s going to be happening! Our cuisine is fast becoming more exotic and with increasing presence of Peruvian, Persian and Vietnamese restaurants on the high street we’re falling in love with spicier foods, unusual ingredients and are actively choosing to try dishes we aren’t familiar with.
Food festivals are becoming an attractive alternative to having a sit-down meal, where you can take family and friends to sample bite-size delights from different stalls and vote for your favorite while enjoying a fun day out. There’s also been a big boom in sales of beers, ales, and meads created by artisan and handcrafted beer makers and alcoholic mocktails for those who prefer to wake up early for a sunrise yoga session instead of nursing a hangover. City workers are eschewing basic canteen food and unhealthy, greasy snacks in their droves for healthy ‘buddha’ bowls bursting with salad, noodles, greens and drizzled in light oils while getting energy from doorstep delivery health boxes filled with seeds, low-fat pita chips, nuts, and fruit.
We’re also embracing the idea of keeping food simple; dishes are becoming lighter, more organic and less protein heavy while moving away from the hearty meat, two veg rule that dominated our parent’s childhoods. However, people are still firmly dedicated to eating a balanced diet, even if our protein is now coming from legumes, white fish, and even nuts. In fact, recent research has shown that everyone should, in fact, be increasing their daily portion of fruit and veg to ten-a-day even though many Americans are already struggling to make healthy choices thanks to both a rise in food prices and limited nutritional guidance.
We’re not saying that you should give all of these a go and certainly not all at once, but there are some hidden gems that are pretty good for you. For example, you might break out in a sweat while eating a enhanced tabbouleh but spicy food, in small doses, kickstarts your metabolism and helps you lose weight. No matter what kind of food you love we’re pretty sure that you’re going to be surprised, amazed and excited by some of the newest ingredients, out of the box trends and altogether more colorful flavors to hit our taste buds!
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Middle Eastern Excitement
It’s probably not surprising but thanks to the influx of globalization it’s easier than ever to try dishes from around the globe without leaving your hometown. The same way Asian, Caribbean and African culture became enmeshed in our society, gradually so are Middle Eastern ways of living. Over the last few years, a noticeable growth in Arab communities has led to Syrian, Afghani, Persian, and Lebanese foods appearing in local stores. Those who have escaped persecution and have settled in other countries, especially America, have brought foods and flavors that are as familiar to them as a bagel, or hotdog is to a New Yorker.
Expect to see an explosion in fusion cuisine, similarly to how Asian Americans have mixed rice and noodles with hamburger meat, creamy fish soups with leafy veg and inject ginger, soy and lime juice into something as simple as mac and cheese. Food critics believe that as Middle Eastern culture begins to trickle into the mainstream, the way Chinese and Indian foods did in the 1970’s, we will see dishes with a positively Persian influence. Instead of being garnished with raisins or cherries salads and desserts will be sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and herbs and spices such as sumac, fenugreek, and orange blossom will delicately liven up dishes while enticing our palettes to discover more. We may all be familiar with kabobs and hummus but what about stuffed falafels? Zulubia? Bamieh? Or badenjan-buran?
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The Color Purple
When you think of vegetables like cauliflower, corn, asparagus and potatoes then the chances are you picture them as healthy, natural looking and mostly yellow or green. However, in 2017, what was once seen only in upscale restaurants, organic farmers markets, and boutique grocery stores is now making their way onto everyone’s plates. Whole Foods has reported that this will be the year of colored fruit and veg and vivid violet shades of sprouts, cabbages, and even onions will be commonplace. Interestingly, depending on which color you choose you may receive better health benefits, a mixture of traditional white and funky purple root vegetables has a much wider variety of vitamins and minerals which will, of course, improve your overall nutrition levels.
Mind you, just because something started life as being good for you doesn’t mean that it stays that way! While vegetable crisps and chips are becoming much more widespread, do make sure to check the packet carefully to see exactly how the product has been manufactured. It’s no good having purple potatoes and then frying them in a load of unsaturated oil because they’ll end up just as fattening as regular chips!
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Sweet And Sour
Forget about your baguettes, baps and bloomers as the next few months are going to see the introduction of sourdough rolls. Why? It’s partly because last year saw a spike in those choosing, or being medically advised to go gluten-free as well as Scandinavian influences slowly creeping into our lifestyles. Unlike in say England, in Norway, it’s still perfectly acceptable to have slices of meat, bread and boiled potatoes for dinner. Their bread tends to be richer, denser and full of grains and pulses that are much better for the body than processed white loaves.
The fermentation process that sourdough bread requires helps to break down troublesome peptides, something which those who have gluten issues struggle to process. Fermenting bread isn’t just good for those who are gluten-free, it benefits all of us because healthy bacteria’s given time to grow which, in turn, aids in digestion. Unlike other bread that’s often relatively stodgy, fermented sourdough loaves combat weight gain so we can still enjoy a good old cheese and pickle sandwich without worrying about packing on the pounds!
It’s no coincidence that retailers display bread and cakes together as they’re a similar sort of product and both require baking however bread, unless an iced finger bun, isn’t normally sweet. We’re not sure just how successful this trend will be, but there’s already an eager and willing community that chooses to eat bran, oat, fruit and raisin muffins or low-fat honey flapjacks for breakfast instead of cereal.
A recent study has somewhat controversially declared that by starting each day with a small amount of dark chocolate, you might feel more alert, awake, and confident while early reports have suggested that adding a dessert element to your breakfast routine is healthy. Remember, small amounts only, think along the lines of fruit, a slice of lemon or Madeira cake, honey glazed biscuits or dark chocolate brioche. It’s best to save that giant buttered pancake stack for really special occasions.
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Due to an unprecedented rise in vegan cooking enterprising chefs are having to think outside the box to get customers in through the front door. Last year was declared ‘Year of Pulses’ which means any grains, peas, beans and lentils which got restaurants producing creations such as ‘mushroom burgers,’ ‘bean pepperoni’ and ‘vegetable ribs.’ Far more than mere veggie burgers, these incredible meat free creations look, feel and even taste exactly like the real thing so are ideal for those who want to eat ‘beef’ without bending their beliefs, or meat eaters who need a little break from all things cow. If you don’t want to splash the cash dining on something you’re not too sure of, don’t panic! Thanks to some pretty clever people at Beyond Burger, you can buy, in your supermarket, an entirely vegetable-based raw burger patty that even ‘bleeds’ thanks to the beetroot inside.
Make sure that your cookware’s healthy as well, and if you’re not sure what pan material to buy then the friendly folk over at stonefryingpans.com will be happy to assist.You may also want to buy separate meat / veggie burger pans, so it’s worth considering chrome, non-stick ones because all too often charred, unevenly cooked meat is down to gritty, sticky pans. This burger’s healthy for both mind and body and boasts a whopping 20 grams of protein in each! Just heat the patty following the instructions, and don’t forget as it’s completely meat-free you don’t need to worry too much about under or overcooking them. These veggie burgers may be entirely comprised of grains and pulses but you still won’t find them nestled in the salad section!
Category: Washington D.C.