Seaweed ice cream? Food trends for 2018

JP McMahon: Savoury will take over from sweet when it comes to desserts

Just make a standard ice-cream recipe - and then start experimenting

Just make a standard ice-cream recipe - and then start experimenting

 

Marking food trends is something of a sport in the new year, bringing a little bit of excitement to those first few dull weeks. While I hope that last year’s trend of avocados with “everything” (including skinny jeans and not wearing socks) has had its day, I do hope that this year’s trends push us towards more local and ethical decisions.

Making a better food world is possible every day by choosing food products that have been made or grown with care and attention. Fake news dominated 2017 and has a serious effect on food culture, particularly when an Irish flag on food packaging need only mean it passed through Dublin Airport.

Two trends I am looking forward to – ones that have preoccupied me in the last number of years, but now seem to be entering the main stream – are vegetable-based desserts and low sugar or savoury desserts.

I can see why they have taken the last five years to travel from places such Noma in Copenhagen. “Would you like the chocolate or the cauliflower mousse?” is hopefully a question you will hear more often in 2018. We love using vegetables in desserts in Aniar, my restaurant in Galway, particularly in the winter months when berries are scarce. You may be thinking that using vegetables is nothing new and you would be right. Carrot cake has long been in our Irish food consciousness and eating it will always give me fond memories, particularly with rich butter icing and walnut ice-cream. Some of the ice-creams we make in Aniar include seaweed (sugar kelp) and cauliflower.

Once you start experimenting, the possibilities are endless.

Just make a standard ice-cream recipe (six egg yolks to 300ml of cream and milk). Bring your milk and cream to the boil with 2tbsp of milled seaweed. Remove from heat. Whisk your egg yolks with 50g of sugar – half the standard amount – until the mixture is pale and frothy. Pour the warm seaweed mixture over the eggs, beating all the time. Set over a bain-maire and warm until the custard thickens. Strain and cool. When cold, fold 250ml whipped cream into the custard and then freeze. If you don’t have an ice-cream churner, take out and whisk every hour.

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