Although it may be changing now, I’ve often thought that Ireland’s food trends are about a month behind the UK’s, six months behind America’s and a year behind Australia’s (the US is hugely into labneh at the moment for example, whereas it’s been a thing in Australia for ages).
An article from Bon Appétit’s Andrew Knowlton about the food trends he liked– or didn’t like – in 2014 sort of backs up this idea of a time gap between Ireland and elsewere in terms of food trends. After listing all of the food items he enjoyed in 2014 (‘Kurt Vile on the speakers at restaurants’, ‘all kinds of stuff on toasts’, the rise of ‘Cali-healthy’ breakfast and lunch spots, hot pastrami sandwich with kimchi slaw, ‘85% of the tacos I ate during a three-day taco crawl in Austin’, old, signed menus as wallpaper, amaretto sours in Portland Oregon – okay, it is Bon Appétit), he mentions a few that things that he was fed up with during the year, such as hearing “everything will come out when it’s ready”, being told how to order, and ‘seeing the same damn menu items all over the country’. Some of the dishes he lists here have appeared in Ireland already, such as the ‘steak for two’ – try The Butcher’s Grill in Ranelagh if you’re feeling especially carnivorous – and some which haven’t yet, such as the deviled eggs and the carrots with yogurt.
Now, the deviled eggs I could take or leave. They look quite nice as a starter, in a retro sort of way, and while they’re tasty enough, they’re not really a hugely exceptional addition to a meal. They’re only ever deviled eggs. But the carrots with the yogurt sound really fresh and new and exciting, and although it’s not a dish I’ve seen here yet, there’s lots of recipes for carrots with yogurt on the big American food websites, so I can only presume we’ll be seeing them in Dublin fairly soon. They’re healthy without being worthy; garlicky, delicious and spicy without being greasy, and they’re fun and quick to make – you just toss them around in whatever spices you like – Moroccan, Middle Eastern or Indian, for example – and then roast, dip and eat. Perfect January food.
Predictions for Irish food trends in 2015? Bone broths (or ‘homemade stock’ to you and I; ‘brodo‘ to trendy New Yorkers); burrata (a beautiful, creamier version of mozzarella, with a liquid centre); soft shell fish tacos (and more Mexican food in general); recently revived grains like Freekeh in salads, and as trendy sides or in ‘grain bowls’; radishes; savoury yogurt sauces with chili oil or herbs; bánh mì hitting the bigtime in Dublin (there’s definitely something to be done there with an old-style Irish font and a space in Temple Bar…), and Vietnamese food generally; coconut-roasted everything; a good Chinese takeaway to mimic what Bombay Pantry did for Indian food and what Neon, Camile and Diep have done for Thai; Greek gyros (and no, not the sort you’d find in the Epicurean Food Hall); snazzy vegetable-based main courses (whole roasted cauliflower, for example); fermented pickles of every sort; smarter, more nuanced Italian, with Sardinian and Sicilian flavours coming to the fore, and small bites replacing big bowls; toasts, a ramen
café bar; Thanksgiving, slow cooker mania this side of the Atlantic (slowly falling head over heels with our Crockpot, little workhorse that it is); sprouted grains, biltong, chimarrão Brazilian tea + cups + café as a micro trend for Dublin, brick chicken; roast chickpeas as a bar snack; schnitzel; socca (a chickpea flour pancake hailing from the coastline around Nice and Genoa), trendy Greek yogurt; ceramic plates; ‘nduja (a spicy, spreadable sausage from Italy) every which way – try Carluccio’s delicious jarred version; cauliflower; Lebanese recipes; pumpkin.
Please no more…cauliflower pizza crusts; articles about Bulletproof coffee; Paleo; cold-pressed juices; food trucks; pulled anything; kale; Chemex coffee; black beans or avocado in brownies and ice cream; chia seed or ‘overnight’ oats; the adjective ‘artisanal‘; spiralised courgette noodles; fancy brussels sprouts; saucers of caster sugar for coffees; boring restaurant wall quotes (‘He was a bold man that first ate an oyster‘, etc.
ROAST CARROTS WITH YOGURT SAUCE
1 bunch of carrots
2tbsp oive oil
1tsp mustard powder
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp cumin seed
1tsp garam masala
1tsp coriander seed
1/2tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of salt
For the yogurt dressing
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 clove of garlic
2tsp of harissa paste (America is currently going mad for harissa, too)
2tbsp chopped herbs (mint, coriander, parsley, thyme)
Pinch of salt
Tiny pinch of sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Cut off the tops of the carrots and wash and scrub. Par-boil the larger ones for 5 minutes, blanch in cold water and pat dry. Add the spices, seasoning and olive oil to a large mixing bowl and rub the carrots around in it till their exterior is totally covered. Set two baking trays in the oven to get hot, then divide the spiced carrots between them so that each carrot is separate – around 6 per tray, perhaps. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes and then try one. If it’s still too crisp, give it another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make your yogurt sauce: dice the garlic and herbs, and mix in a small bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Serve the carrots warm and the yogurt cold.