12 December 2014
Two key trends have emerged as the new big deals in the food industry in the past few months: Butter is making a spectacular return and Caribbean flavour is heating up the London food scene
By Ungerer Limited
Beautifully flavoured finishing butters, butter sauce, artisan small batch house-churned butter, scented butters and delicious butter spreads are becoming a staple element at top restaurants.
Caribbean flavour is heating the London food scene up, bringing its spicy, zingy, fresh, fruity flavours to the mainstream. Now far beyond Jerk seasoning, could authentic Caribbean be the next globally influenced flavour trend?
Butters new life
Butter has received a bad rep in recent years getting the blame for increased risk of heart disease amongst other things. However, there is some evidence to prove that the lack of fats such as butter could be damaging. For the moment, butter can bask in its unctuous glory as sugar and processed foods take the pressure from health lobbyists, at least for the short term, letting chefs indulge in their mantra of “fat is flavour”.
The age of “finishing butter“ is upon us again. These can be savoury or sweet. The recipe for all flavoured butters is basically the same: soften unsalted butter and blend in the flavour ingredients with an electric mixer, traditionally only fresh herbs, lemon and lime juice used, however as this evolves into large scale food production, natural flavourings will become more common in process.
The “finishing butter” movement is expected to have a natural progressing into a “butter sauce” style category, to be used as a dressing for vegetables or a light marinade for meats and fish. This is already apparent to a very limited extent in some products on offer in supermarkets. Because the first stage of the introduction of this trend is already in place, consumers will be a lot more receptive to new flavour innovation and slightly more creative combinations. This trend will also cater to the luxury meal deal/dining in trend.
Products on market:
Tesco offers a range of single serve steak packs that come complete with a portion of flavoured serving butter. The flavours on offer are:
• Garlic & herb
• Lemon & spinach
Tesco also offers a range of serving/dressing butters with a selection of flavours:
• Garlic & herb
• Lime, coriander & chilli
• Basil, parmesan & tomato
Young’s, Birdsey and other major brands all also offer ranges of cook’in’bag fish and chicken products all with basic butter sauces, herbs, or tomato styled varieties.
Carribbean flavours explosion
Caribbean food is making its mark on the major cities in the UK. The best of the tropical island flavours bring in a new element for the authentic global flavour craze to explore! Forget heavy fried foods and cast the thoughts of endless rice and peas aside. The new wave of authentic Caribbean flavour is all about spicy Jerk, zingy lime and fresh and fruity as the healthier side of Caribbean cuisine reveals its true glory.
London seems to be the home of this trend, with a multitude of restaurants, rum bars and healthy, exciting street food vendors selling truly authentic Caribbean dishes.
What food can we expect to see?
Jerk: A native Jamaican dish traditionally applied to pork and chicken, however, modern uses also apply it to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausages and tofu. Jerk seasoning classically consists of allspice (called “pimento” in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.
Ackee & saltfish: Another traditional Jamaican dish, internally known as Jamaica’s national dish. Saltfish is salt cod, preserved by salting and drying. The ackee fruit was imported to Jamaica from West Africa. In the UK, Canada and the US, Ackee & Saltfish is eaten widely, although canned ackee is more often used than fresh in some foreign countries. When cooked, ackee has a soft texture, somewhat akin to scrambled egg.
Curry goat: Originating from Indo-Jamaican cuisine, curry goat is now regarded as being typical of Jamaica. The dish has spread through the English-speaking Caribbean and also the Caribbean diaspora in North America and Great Britain. It is considerably milder than the equivalent dishes from the Indian subcontinent and is flavoured with a spice mix that is typical of Indo-Jamaican cooking and Scotch bonnet peppers. It is almost always served with rice and typically Caribbean side dishes such as fried plantain.
Rice & peas: Rice and peas is the mainstay of the Jamaican diet and is traditionally, but not exclusively, eaten with Sunday meal. The dish is made with rice and any available legume such as red kidney beans, pigeon/gungo peas or cowpeas. The peas are boiled with pimento seeds (allspice) and garlic until tender. Salt, Scotch bonnets, thyme, scallion and coconut milk are then added along with the rice and left to simmer until cooked.