Five foodie trends for spring 2017

The Social Pantry’s Alex Head makes her predictions for the coming season

Predicting food trends is rarely an exact science. There are the ones that gather momentum more quickly than anyone ever expected, such as the ubiquitous avocado (though Instagram has to claim its fair share of responsibility for brunch mania); there are those that attract a lot of hype but never really translate into sales (how many doughnut-muffin hybrids have you actually bought?); and then there are some that, quite frankly, outstay their welcome (remember how many years we spent dutifully cooing at synthetic-looking cupcakes laden with fluorescent-coloured icing?). There are, however, certain cooking techniques, styles or ingredients that look likely to grace our kitchens on a regular basis in 2017. Here, Alex Head, the owner and founder of Social Pantry, shares her top five…

1. Charcoal: thanks to its detoxifying effect, charcoal is gaining popularity in cooking. You may already have sampled it in juices or hot drinks designed to aid digestion after a meal, but it also makes a fun addition to a sourdough loaf, or why not add it to your pancake mix come Shrove Tuesday?

2. Cauliflower: taking kale’s throne is the remarkably versatile cauliflower, which is equally delicious served whole as a vegetarian alternative to steak, blitzed in a food processor to make healthy ‘rice’, or combined with mint and pomegranate is a spring salad.

3. Creative condiments: these days, no self-respecting cook serves shop-bought taramasalata. Instead, experiment with home-made dips such as beetroot labneh or black sesame tahini, which are perfect served with crudités or raw broccoli.

4. Purple power: from purple carrots and cauliflower to acai and black rice, bring some dark drama to your plates this year. High in antioxidants, purple ingredients are as nutritionally packed as they are aesthetically striking.

5. Retro revival: when it comes to drinks, the 1970s are back in vogue, with sherry coming out on top. Serve as a tipple to your dinner-party guests, or heat in a tall saucepan with sugar, cream, sherry and butter to make sherry fudge (click here for the recipe).

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