Ignored for too long! These foods and drinks are what we at delicious. recommend you try in 2010. Open your mind, then open your mouth.
Speltotto is the new word in risotto. A term coined by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, it's risotto made with organic spelt as a substitute for rice, which can be a healthy and nourishing main meal or served as a side dish. Sharpham Park, the food label created by Roger Saul and based in Somerset, has created a range of speltottos using a pearled spelt base with added dried vegetables, herbs and spices. Not only does spelt have a nutty flavour, it is also known for its many health and nutritional benefits – it's very high in protein and has a low glycaemic index, slowly releasing sugars and nutrients into the blood stream. Spelt is also suitable for those with a mild wheat intolerance, but not celiac sufferers, and can help people with IBS. Sharpham Park, including spelt therapy. Click here to buy.
Charlton House Hotel has pioneered a range of therapies based around the use of spelt. All the treatments incorporate products that contain spelt germ oil, which has a high level of vitamin E. This not only softens skin and improves its elasticity, it also helps to reduce and control the symptoms associated with eczema and acne. Website.
2. Matcha tea
Matcha tea is a powdered green tea that is unique to Japan, and which plays a central part in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha is made from the tips of budding tea bushes that have been shaded with bamboo mats for three weeks. This keeps the caffeine content high, increases the production of amino acids which makes the tea sweeter and preserves the chlorophyll, as the sunless leaves cannot undergo photosynthesis. The leaves are then stone-ground to an ultra-fine powder. There are two ways of preparing matcha, koicha (thick) and usucha (thin), which is dependent on the amount of tea and water used to make it.
Matcha tea is high in antioxidants, chlorophyll and fibre. It's also sugar free, which makes it perfect for diabetics and those who want to reduce their sugar intake. Unlike usual teas, the whole leaf is drunk, not just the water, which increases the health benefits further. One glass of Matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content and has nine times the beta carotene of a serving of spinach. Click here to buy.
Dulse may sound unappetising when described as a red algae or seaweed, but it has been eaten in Ireland, Canada and Iceland for centuries and has a surprisingly spicy flavour. Found on the shoreline of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from June to September, it can be eaten straight off the rocks or it can also be found in dried form in health food shops and fish markets.
Dulse is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins. A handful will provide more than 100% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin B6; 66% of Vitamin B12; a day's supply of iron and fluoride and is relatively high in potassium. It also contains no cholesterol or fat. Dulse is extremely versatile and can be boiled, fried, added to soups or salads or used in sandwiches. Click here to buy.
Often overlooked in favour of other root vegetables and rarely featured in peoples’ diets except at Christmas, we think the underrated parsnip deserves a bigger role in Britain’s cuisine. Parsnips are a great deal less starchy than potatoes and a great source of folic acid, fibre, sulphur and vitamin C, not to mention low in calories (and very tasty). They are high in potassium, which is important for brain and nerve function, and a high level of soluble fibre makes them a wonderful inclusion in a cholesterol-lowering, healthy heart diet. The folic acid can also benefit expectant mothers and is thought to help combat heart disease, dementia and osteoporosis. Parsnips are widelt available from supermarkets and farmers' markets. Parsnip recipes.
5. Scandinavian food
Many of us envy the Scandinavians for their healthy lifestyle and slim figures, and much of this is down to their cuisine. Obesity levels in Sweden are as low as 10% in comparison to Britain’s 25%. Unfussy and pure, Scandinavians are keen on using local ingredients such as lean wild game and fish, free-range lamb, cold climate vegetables, native berries, and whole grains including rye, barley, and oats. Rich in protein, omega-3s and antioxidants, the Scandinavian diet is based on high intakes of cheap but delicious fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon and trout. Meat and fish are nearly always served with boiled potatoes and root vegetables, and the bread is dark brown and full of grains and oats.
In 2009, a team of researchers at Copenhagen University demonstrated how a diet based on Scandinavia's local, seasonal foods can be as conducive to wellness and weight loss as the Mediterranean diet. Scandinavian recipes.
6. Sweet Freedom
Sweet Freedom is a natural sweetener made from 100% fruit. Just three ingredients make up this delicious syrup, apples, grapes and carob. Sweet Freedom is just water extracted from fruit, with no chemicals or enzymes used and no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives added.
It has 25% less calories than sugar, and it has a low glycaemic load, which makes it ideal for diabetics as part of a healthy diet. Sweet Freedom is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those with a gluten intolerance. Created by Tina Michelucci and Deborah Pyner, after they weren’t happy with the sugar replacements available to them, this syrup is perfect on porridge, toast, in tea and coffee and for baking. Buy it online.
7. Whoopie pies
Move over cupcakes, Whoopee pies are the next big thing in baking. Though not quite as good for you as some of the other foods on this list, they are pure indulgence and look great too.
Whoopee Pies originated in New England and are an Amish tradition. According to food historians, Amish women would bake these (known as hucklebucks at the time) and put them in farmers' lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout "Whoopie!" They consist of two mound shaped pieces of cake with a sweet buttercream filling. Harrods are currently selling four flavours in their Food Hall: classic, gingerbread, pistachio and red velvet, each with some stylish decoration on top. Click here for the recipe.
A recent leap in sales of sardines suggests that people are becoming even more aware of the health-giving benefits of oily fish. Sardines are becoming fashionable again, and their low price means they are also great if you want to eat fish but are counting the pennies. Sardines are one of the healthiest fishes around as they contain a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your heart healthy, help brain power and keep blood sugar levels balanced. This humble fish also reduces inflammation and are beneficial to people suffering from joint problems such as arthritis. Sardines are also a naturally good source of vitamin D, which help promote stronger bones.Sardine recipes.
9. Raw food
Followers of raw foodism believe that the greater the percentage of raw food (pictured) in the diet, the greater the health benefits. At least 75% of the diet must be living or raw, as heating food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the enzymes that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Also used as a dieting tool, the raw food diet is based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed.
Proponents of the raw food diet believe it has numerous health benefits, including increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion and weight loss. The raw diet is nutrient dense, and there is little or no saturated fat, it is low in sodium, high in potassium and fibre-rich. All these factors are important in helping to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease and some cancers. Click here for our guest blogger's recipes.
10. Alcohol-free beer
For many, the idea of alcohol-free beer is a misnomer. However, it has several health benefits that may change peoples’ opinions. Scientists in 2008 found that the drink reduced the potentially dangerous build up of fat in the arteries of those with high levels of cholesterol. It also increased the amount of antioxidants in drinkers' blood, which can help to protect the heart. They believed the effect could be down to vitamins contained in the beer, including vitamin B6, which helps to dampen the effect of a chemical linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease. According to scientists in Japan, alcohol-free beer may ward off cancer as there are compounds in it which prevent the carcinogenic compounds binding to cells, making it as healthy a tipple as fruit juice, but with the taste of beer. Cobra Zero is one such drink, and it's available in supermarkets.
11. Beef brisket
Many chefs have been championing the use of lesser-known cuts of meat during the credit crunch because they are cheaper and just as flavoursome as the popular cuts we are used to, if not more so. Supermarkets have recently introduced thriftier cuts of meat such as shoulder of lamb onto their shelves and Asda has seen a surge in brisket. These cuts provide good value for money and although they require longer cooking times, they're nourishing and rich in flavour. Beef brisket recipes.
12. Black garlic
Black garlic is the hottest new ingredient to hit the UK. It's a type of fermented garlic that is used predominantly in Asian cuisine; however, it has taken off in America in the past year and will be an exciting addition to British cooking in 2010.
Black garlic has a very distinctive flavour; it tastes sweet and syrupy, with a hint of balsamic vinegar, but with the texture of dried fruit. Black garlic has nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic due to the fermentation process, and like raw garlic is a good source of s-allylcysteine, which is a natural chemical that lowers cholesterol and is believed to be a cancer-preventing compound. .