Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: Iceland's new partnership and gingerbread women

The news, reviews and trends from August 4-5, including ranking cakes by sugar content and garnishing dishes with micro herbs.

6 August 2018
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Food news

Who is the sweetest of them all?

Step away from that delicious square of pink and yellow cake – the Battenberg has been dubbed the sweetest of them all when it comes to sugar content. That’s according to a group of nutrition scientists at Queen Mary University of London, who looked at 381 cakes of 29 types, examining samples from the UK’s nine leading supermarkets. They found that 100g of Battenberg comprises 15 teaspoons of sugar, according to the Sunday Times, compared to 11 teaspoons for brownies and Bakewells. Blueberry muffins notched up six. However, the researchers pointed out that there was great variation between the retailers, with some versions of Battenberg cake containing 62% sugar, while others had a significantly reduced 46%.

Iceland sets sights on The Range

Iceland food products will soon be appearing in a home, garden and leisure store near you – at least if you live near an outlet of The Range. An initial agreement between the two companies will see Iceland open a store within a store at three The Range locations across the Midlands and Liverpool, providing customers with a one-stop solution to their shopping needs, reports the Guardian.


Gingerbread woman

Godfrey the gingerbread man will be lonesome no more. Pret A Manger has announced it will be introducing a gingerbread woman (named Annie) to its offering. The chain will also relabel its products as ‘gingerbread biscuits’ to make them gender neutral. “The sandwich and coffee chain’s move comes as retailers race to profit from changing attitudes towards gender identity,” writes the Times.


Crunch time

Walkers has pledged to make its crisp packets 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025, but by that point the company will already have produced 28bn new, unrecyclable crisp packets – the equivalent of 7,000 every minute. A petition urging the company to take action on its packaging sooner has already gained 270,000 signatures, according to the Guardian. PepsiCo, Walkers’ parent company, has been working with Danimer Scientific since last March to find a technologically savvy way to achieve its 2025 target.


Business confidence falls

For this week’s dose of Brexit gloom, the Guardian covers two reports that reflect a fall in confidence at British businesses. A survey by ICSA: the Governance Institute reveals that 55% of UK company board members believe their business will go into decline, compared to 24% six months ago. While fewer people appear to think leaving the EU will incur potential damage (42% as opposed to 54% a year ago), nobody rated Brexit as positive (9% did so previously). Elsewhere, a poll of chartered accountants found that business confidence has not been as bad as it is now since the 2017 general election.


Food trends


Micro herbs, blood orange crisps and other exotic garnishes are on the rise, according to the Sunday Times, which notes that restaurants and retailers alike are getting in on the craze for pretty food and drink accessories. Sainsbury’s, for instance, sold 18,000 punnets of edible flowers last year. The article recommends basil lemon and bonito flakes as among the most impactful additions to a dish or beverage. 

Food reviews

Dammika’s, London SW1W 0EJ

Forget the sanitised Sri Lankan at Hoppers, this spot goes full throttle with the flavours – and god help you if you can’t handle the spice. Marina O’Loughlin sticks her fork into all manner of traditional eats, from kingfish fried in breadcrumbs to chicken curry with chopped godamba roti. “Dammika’s has all the subtlety and delicacy of a Bible Belt preacher,” writes the critic, who describes the mutton roll as a “vast, priapic unit” that has been “rammed with mutton and potato stew, palate-walloping with chillies, curry leaves and coriander, and fried in breadcrumbs."

The Painswick, Gloucestershire GL6 6YB

Jamie McCallum, formerly of London’s Wild Honey, serves up “confident bistro food,” writes Jay Rayner, from long-braised shredded pork with fresh herbs to slow-cooked lamb with peas, broad beans and shimeji mushroom. To sum up: “it’s just really solid, extremely enjoyable stuff served in one of those honey-coloured sandstone hotels that make even the most hard-hearted of us dream of Bridget Jones mini-breaks.”

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