Vegetables as desserts, a rise in popularity of wild and feral meats, smoking as a key flavouring, and a surge in fermented foods will all feature heavily this year on your culinary radar. We’ve got the lowdown on how to translate each trend into homemade dishes in your kitchen.
No longer are vegies confined to savoury dishes, sides and salads. 2015 sees the rise and rise of the humble vegetable, both as the star attraction on a plate and in a huge variety of desserts. Fire up your oven and bake a cake - carrots have long been favourites but zucchinis, sweet potatoes and pumpkins all work too. Avocados are wonderful teamed with chocolate in a gooey brownie and beetroot pairs similarly well with chocolate - try it pureed in a baked molten chocolate pudding. Once pulsed in a food processor, cauliflower - one of 2015’s new superfoods - makes a great substitute for rice in a ‘rice’ pudding.
Wild and feral meats
We may be famous the world over for our kangaroos and crocs but tourists are often surprised at how little we eat our native meats. As we become more ecologically aware and pay increasing amounts of attention to the health benefits of what we eat, that is changing. Kangaroo, for example, is an exceptionally lean meat that is high in iron and packed full of nutrients. As a nation, we also face the reality of an alarmingly high population of feral animals, including deer, rabbits, goats and boar, all of which taste great - a win-win situation to decrease their populations. Try using goat in a curry or slow cooking it on your cooktop with oregano and lemon. Wild boar makes incredible burgers, whilst rabbit is great in stews. Cut a crocodile fillet into cubes, marinate with ginger, garlic, ground lemon myrtle and sweet chilli sauce, thread onto skewers, and barbecue on your BBQ.
It seems there’s nothing that can’t be smoked this year. Meat will continue to be a popular food to smoke but fruit, vegetables and even butter will also get the smoking treatment. Fire up your BBQ, add wood chips to a smoker box, pull down the lid and get creative with what you put on your grill. Some ideas: smoke halved peaches for 30 minutes and serve drizzled with honey over ice cream or as an accompaniment to pork; smoke some capers and add to smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels or toss with roasted vegies; smoked potatoes rubbed with butter and salt make a delicious accompaniment to meat and fish and are great in a potato salad.
Probiotic fermented foods, which contain live cultures or are steeped in liquid and left to ferment, boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract, helping to improve IBS as well as leading to weight loss, better skin and an improved immune system. Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is great as a topper on barbecued sausages or served in a bap with baked ham; pickled gherkins are famously fantastic with burgers; simmer miso soup with noodles, tofu and some chopped green veg on your cooktop; or use tempeh (fermented soybeans) flavoured with tamari (a type of gluten-free soy sauce) as a replacement for bacon in a BLT.