It’s an exciting time for food innovation with products appearing on our shelves that take eating experiences to another level. Interesting flavour combinations can turn an everyday food into something unique. Here are some examples of ordinary foods with rather surprising ingredients.
1. Hemp pasta
Pasta comes in many shapes and forms and from a variety of flours but pasta made from hemp has caused a bit of a stir, because hemp is the plant from which cannabis is made. However the use of hemp in food is becoming increasingly common. Not to be confused with cannabis (you’re not going to feel any “effects” from eating it), the hemp grown for food use has a much lower concentration of the active ingredient associated with the drug form. Hemp is known to be nutritionally beneficial and naturally high in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Will this pasta be high on the menu?
2. Lentil crisps
The humble packet of crisps: a savoury snack that has graced packed lunches and picnic boxes for years. Traditionally made from thinly sliced and fried potatoes, we now see the crisp aisle graced with gourmet varieties and flavours galore. A fan of lentils? Bet you’d never have thought you could eat them in the form of a snack, let alone one that you could put alongside other nibbles to be enjoyed with pre-dinner dips and drinks. Lentil crisps represent a higher protein, lower fat alternative to potato crisps.
Care for another chip dhaling?
3. Savoury Popcorn
Popcorn, that well-loved cinema snack, is seeing a revolution in terms of its popularity. No longer reserved for munching on during a flick, we now see gourmet varieties everywhere — replacing the high calorie, super-sweet versions as an alternative low calorie snack food. Which team are you in: team sweet or team salty? Perhaps a mixture of both but you can mix it up even more now with a range of flavours that defy the traditional. Cheddar cheese popcorn anyone?
Popcorn and pickle sandwiches all round.
4. Savoury ice cream
Ice cream is most definitely a sweet dessert, isn’t it? Perhaps not, as we see more savoury varieties being offered in restaurants and ice cream parlours. Bacon, blue cheese, green tea and smoked salmon are just some of the flavours offered now as ice cream makers get experimental.
I’ll have mine on toast please.
5. Konjac noodles
Noodles are a common accompaniment to stir fries and Asian dishes. They come in many varieties but more recently have caused a stir with the emergence of the zero calorie noodle. These so-called health foods are made from the root of the Japanese konjac plant, in particular the root fibre known as glucomannan. Jelly-like when mixed with water, the resulting noodles are supposed to keep you fuller for longer and, because glucomannan is not absorbed by the body, they are also said to aid weight loss. Be warned though: glucomannan is a natural laxative.
It’s chew, chew, chew, if you want to make the most of these guys.
6. Spreadable beer
What do you like to spread on your toast: jam, honey or chocolate spread? Or do you veer to the savoury side and go for nut butters or marmite? You can now find a huge range of spreads to cover all tastes, including some unusual ones like spreadable beer. Yes, you read that right, you can now have your beer and eat it.
Fancy a pint… of toast?
7. Marshmallow vodka
Look in the spirits aisle and you’ll find an array of flavours for your favourite tipple so it’s not just the mixers you can vary now. When it comes to vodka it seems the sky’s the limit. Choose anything from berry or citrus flavours to cucumber, basil and spicy varieties. For those with a sweet tooth you can find vanilla, toffee and even marshmallow vodkas on offer.
Hmm, vodka s’mores anyone?
8. Tabasco-spiced chocolate
Nowhere does the combination of sweet and spicy work better than with chocolate. You can buy chilli-flavoured chocolate and find chilli con carne recipes that call for the addition of chocolate to them. So how about Tabasco-flavoured chocolate then? Tabasco, a spicy sauce made from tabasco peppers, has been around for 140 years and is traditionally used to spice up savoury dishes and Bloody Marys. Tabasco-infused spicy dark chocolate is a must-try for chilli lovers everywhere.
Hope it’s not so hot it melts.
9. Beer Bread
Beer makes an interesting addition to the flavour of bread, providing a hint of malt and hops. Not only that, craft beers (ones that haven’t been filtered) contain residual yeast which, when activated upon heating, helps make the bread rise. Both beer and bread are essentially water and cereal, with added yeast and sugar to kickstart the fermentation process. The fact that they resemble each other so closely in terms of ingredients makes putting them together a natural option.
You know you can’t get drunk on this right?
10. Coffee flour
Coffee pulp is a waste by-product of the coffee producing industry, traditionally dumped or left to rot. However a process that converts this pulp to flour is a food innovation that will not only reduce the environmental impact of waste but create jobs and sustain communities. The result of drying and grinding the pulp is a mildly caffeinated, gluten-free flour with a rich, earthy taste.
Great news for all you coffee lovers out there.