Food trends of 2015

As predicted by restaurants, foodies and the media, these are the trends that will dominate 2015.

wpid-DSC_0088.jpgRamen’s going mainstream

Ramen has been around a while. It was a particular favourite of mine as a student and I even got to try some when I stopped off in Singapore on my way to Australia two years ago.  But Ramen is getting more popular by the day and is appearing on more British menus. Ramen is quick cooking noodles served in a broth with meat or vegetables. If you haven’t tried a bowl of Ramen now is the time.

wpid-IMAG1440.jpgCauliflower

As the kale trend dies down, it is being replaced by the ‘not so boring anymore’ cauliflower. Roast with a dusting of curry powder for a light snack or try this Spicy veggie chilli recipe to get your cauliflower hit.

wpid-IMAG1744.jpgRise of Harissa

Sriracha has become a hot sauce must have in recent years but now it’s predicted that harissa will take over. The blend of chillis, garlic, tomatoes, paprika, coriander and olive oil works will as a dip, marinade or even a sandwich spread! Try some of these Harissa recipes:

spicy chicken samosasTurmeric

It’s the new super spice! Everyone’s suddenly talking about the benefits of turmeric – a spice we’ve had in our kitchens for ages. You can even buy turmeric supplements from your local health food shop. Turmeric is usual used in curries and gives them the yellow colour. Turmeric is said to have anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. More reasons to eat curry!

Here’s some recipes that include turmeric:

Oil variety

At one point olive oil became the go to oil but now there are many others to choose from. I’ve recently been using coconut oil which works particularly well in curries but there are also many varieties to choose from including chilli infused oils, garlic and ginger oil, lemon infused oil, avocado oil and many more.

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My chilli valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day chilli lovers!

Is your valentine a chilli lover?

If you weren’t really fussed about this day but then your partner shows up with a card and a massive present you may be in need of an emergency gift. One of the top presents given on Valentine’s day is chocolate and if your valentine is a chilli fanatic then these ideas might help.

Chilli chocolate fondue

What’s more romantic than sharing food? This heart shaped fondue comes with chilli chocolate sauce!

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To the shop

 

 

Chilli Valentine Hamper

Nothing says “I know you love food” more than a hamper and this one contains chilli products only.

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Chilli chocolate truffles

Traditional valentine’s gift with a spicy twist – plus a plant!

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Chilli Sweethearts

If you can get to your nearest Hotel Chocolat then these will make a nice luxury gift.

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To the shop

 

 

 

The naughty gift

If you want something fun and hilarious then have a game of chilli willy roulette. Out of the 10 chocolate willies, three are filled with chilli. Have fun playing this with your friends!

spf021_Chocolate_Chilli_Willie_Roulette_1To the shop

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Sweet potato and bean curry

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I’ve been experimenting with different currys recently, from the popular butter chicken to unusual meatball curry. This curry is inspired by Caribbean cuisine.

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Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sauce
  • Pinch of mixed spice
  • 200g chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 250g sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 300g black eye beans
  • Serve with rice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the ginger, garlic, red pepper and spring onions until soft. Add the chilli flakes, thyme, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sauce and spices. Cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the tomatoes and 75ml of water. Add the sugar, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

 

 

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Lunch ideas: Smoky bean salad

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I save a lot of money making my lunch for work rather than buying it but after a while you can get bored of the same old thing. I cooked this up the night before. Luckily I had a bottle of Bonanza to hand which I used as my dressing. Bonanza is a spicy, smoky sauce from The Happy Chilli Company. It made an ordinary packed lunch much more exciting.

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wpid-dsc_1073.jpgServes 2

  • 300g mixed dried beans (I used Great Scot Salad Bean Mix)
  • 200g kidney beans
  • 100g sweetcorn
  • 2 or 3 tbsp Bonanza

12 hours before – You will need to soak your dried beans in water for a minimum of 12 hours before cooking. 

Cook your dried beans to the packet instructions (normally boil for 10 minutes and then simmer for 90 minutes). Towards the end of cooking, microwave your kidney beans and sweetcorn.

Mix the lot together in a tub or bowl and add the Bonanza sauce. Stir in well. Can be kept in the fridge for up to two days.

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National Hot Sauce Day

According to the online foodie community, Thursday 22 January was National Hot Sauce Day!

I know, I know, not another one of those random national food days.  However, if I had a choice this is one that I would definitely celebrate. This week I received two new hot sauces to add to my collection.

Bonanza and Vesuvius are two delicious hot sauces from the Happy Chilli Company.

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Vesuvius

Vesuvius is an explosive combination of habanero chillies mixed with ginger, lime and mango to balance the fiery heat. It comes in between 100,000 to 200,000 on the scoville scale and I’ve been using it as a dip at the moment.

Bonanza

It may not be BBQ weather but Bonanza is a smoky chilli sauce that will bring back memories of a summer’s eve campfire. A combination of tomatoes, onions, chillies, spices and liquid smoke.

As well as being a great sauce for BBQ meat I decided to add this to regular chilli con carne to give it a smoky twist.

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Use your normal chilli con carne recipe (or BBC Good Food has a quick and easy recipe). Instead of adding the spices early on I stirred in a tablespoon of Bonanza at the end to give it more of a smoky flavour.

I’m going to be using these sauces in some more recipes to come. See what else The Happy Chilli Company has to offer on their website (including chilli vodka).

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Chilli festivals 2015

file0001964942635I’m hearing about more and more food and chilli festivals all the time. If you have or know of a chilli festival not included on this list please let me know!

11th April 

Blackpool Chilli Fiesta

St Johns Square, Church Street, Blackpool FY1 3NX

Free

www.chillifest.net

6th June

Sutton Chilli Fiesta

High Street, Sutton, SM1 1DU

Free

www.chillifest.net

13th June

Merthyr Chilli Fiesta

Penderyn Square, CF47 8UX

Free

www.chillifest.net

1st and 2nd August

Dorset Chilli Festival

St Giles House, Dorset

Tickets on sale in June

www.greatdorsetchillifestival.co.uk

29th, 30th and 31st August

Benington Chilli Festival 2015

Benington Lordship, Stevenage, SG2 7BS

Adults £7.50, Children under 16’s £2.50, Under 12’s Free

www.beningtonlordship.co.uk

12th and 13th September

2015 Upton Cheyney Chilli Festival

Bristol

Tickets on sale 1st May

www.uptonchilli.co.uk

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Red pepper and chilli grilled chicken

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A nice simple chicken meal. Marinate the chicken over night for the best flavour.

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Serves 2

  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salad leaves and chips

Finely chop and deseed the chilli and red pepper. Mix in a bowl with the vinegar and oil, and season.

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Slash the chicken breasts across the top three times and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour over three quarters of the pepper and chilli mixture making sure the chicken is properly coated.

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Marinate overnight and keeping the remaining marinade in the fridge.

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Heat a frying pan and add the chicken. Cook for six minutes on each side. You may need to finish this off in the oven to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

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Serve on a bed of salad leaves and a handful of chips.

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