In my last blog post I wrote about food nostalgia, and the memories and moments that make meals come alive and imprint them on our hearts. The flip side of the plate (for clear want of a better analogy) is the collection of bright, shiny, new ideas, attitudes and affectations that leave our heads spinning and our taste buds tingling.
Here are some of my (completely subjective) favourites, in no particular order, that I think are moving us forward with interesting and intelligent momentum . . .
Well it's not all that new, but it's still growing, and it's still new to a lot of us. I think good blogging is, well, great. And good blogs give us greater appreciation for our food cultures, for our food history, for sharing food and learning about where it comes from, how it's prepared and how it can be shared and eaten. Surely that can only be a good thing? One of South Africa's favourite food bloggers, based in London, is Jeanne Horak-Druiff who recently wrote this post about the good, the bad and the ugly elements of clicking away at that keyboard in the name of this modern-day culinary craft: cooksister.com/2013/05/strawberry-rhubarb-upside-down-cake.html
Personally, I think anything with a name like Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale could only be a good and wonderful thing. And microbreweries making “real beer” are popping up everywhere. The general consensus is that craft beers are worth writing home about because they're uniquely flavoured (with anything from, yes, pumpkin, to cinnamon and all sorts in between), are made on a small scale with lots of love and attention to detail, and are also a great way of supporting local enterprise. Also, I don't see this one going away anytime soon. It's said that numbers of breweries are doubling annually, and despite this they still only occupy about one per cent of SA's market share, so there's still a lot of room for growth. Also, craft beer seems to have a certain x-factor that has women swooning and reaching for their pint glasses.
Less meat, more beet
Veggies are on the up. And not just as a sideline. They are featuring more and more as main meals, standing tall and proud among endless variations on fillet, lamb shoulder and any catch of the day.
Grow your own
There's a really exciting, growing awareness about where our food comes from, sustainability and being “selective omnivores”. With that is the growing excitement that we can easily grow herbs, fruit and vegetables at home which provide a bounty of extra healthy ingredients for the pot. For me, the novelty of this actually being a novelty (when for thousands of years it was just the status quo and a normal part of life) will never wear off, but there you go.
There are endless books and recipes available for everything from losing weight to having a happy and healthy heart, and juicers and smoothie makers are flying off the shelves. (Give it a bash ? if for no other reason than that your next steak will taste like the best darn thing you've ever eaten).
Chicken is still in ...
It's affordable, lower in fat and cholesterol than red meat, sustainable and easily free-range or organic. Also, there will never be a shortage of different ways to cook and enjoy the humble chook.
... And so is baking
A plethora of baking-focused TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off have pulled the spotlight back to our mixing bowls and whisks, and I think that's a beautiful thing.
In particular bread baking
Again, it astounds me that our generation wants to start patting ourselves on the back every time we turn out a half-decent loaf, when our grandmothers could probably do it in their sleep, but there you go. And I, for one, am not complaining. There is possibly nothing more exquisite in its simplicity than a fresh-out-the-oven slice of bread covered in cold, hard butter. And so, even though this is about what's new, I suppose it's kind of poetically ironic that I feel the recipe I need to leave you with is nowhere close to new, but much loved and wise with age, and it comes in the form of a very simple rosemary beer bread. Happy feasting.
Rosemary Beer Bread
If your idea of kitchen gold dust is the coveted combination of simple, quick and easy, with minimum washing up, then this is that. Think of beery-rosemary flavours that will set your tongue dancing. Whether you smother the bread in plain butter, or add apricot jam, or toast it, it’s gloriously fat with possibilities, and you don’t even have to waste time tapping your foot and watching it rise before baking.
- You can read more of my ramblings on my blog, afoodieliveshere.co.za
- You can buy my cookbook, bitten., in major bookstores in South Africa and online via my website, afoodieliveshere.co.za/bitten-cookbook/
- You can even watch my TV show, bitten ? Sarah Graham Cooks Cape Town, on Sundays at 4 pm on SABC3.
Sarah is a food blogger, cookbook author and cooking show host