Welcome to the Future of Food: Entomophagy

Founder of JPR Media Group, Jessica Patterson, writes a guest post on eatwithsteph.com

Want grasshoppers on that?

Bug pic 1

The future is ripe for new experimental cooking, fine dining tasting menus and an increase in health options which might just include bugs on your menu. As the human population continues to grow, the demand to feed all those hungry mouths will become increasingly difficult. A growing number of experts claim that people will soon have no choice but to consume insects!

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released a report titled, “Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security.” The document details the health and environmental benefits derived from a diet supplemented by insects, a diet also known as “entomophagy.”

And why not? We force feed ducks until their livers burst to create foie gras and French royalty and statesmen like Francois Mitterrand use to savour such delicacies as the Ortolan bird. These tiny birds were captured, force-fed, drowned in Armagnac and roasted to be eaten in one whole, crunchy bite – bones and all.

I read an interesting article on Buzzfeed about “The Bug Chef” David George Gordon called “Cooking with Bugs Is Less Disgusting than You Might He makes dishes such as Scorpion Scallopine, Grasshopper Kabobs, Orthopteran Orzo (cricket nymphs), Deep Fried Tarantula, and Skewered Sonoran Centipede (FYI – I have eaten dried Scorpions, you can actually pick them up at Selfridges in London, and it was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten besides a mouldy croissant when I was six).

Lack of natural resources have always been a cause for dominating nations to create new food trends to save the lack of production capabilities they have. Even with the use of clever advertising, nations do succeed in convincing the mass of the population “human sheep” to follow in their footsteps.

Take World War II for example. I recently read in the advertising book Purple Cow – written by former Marketing guru for American Apparel, Ryan Holiday – that America set up a committee to promote liver and other non-restricted meats to the American public. This was due to the fact that it was sending most meat production abroad to feed Allied troops, thus bleeding the country dry of necessary protein for the rest of the population.

As a result, the Committee on Food Habits was established at the request of the Department of Defence to identify effective ways of promoting to the American public non-restricted meats including liver sausage, liver, tongue, hearts and kidneys. Hence why our mothers and grandmothers would tell us to eat liver it was “good” for us.

The trend of humans consuming insects might not just arise due to the lack of food resources, but to the discovery that insects are actually good for us.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15: A woman from Rentokil poses with a Pigeon and Mealworm burger on a 'Pop Up' stand at One New Change on August 15, 2013 in London, England. The pest control specialist, Rentokil are celebrating their 85th anniversary, and for one day only were giving passers by the chance to try sweet chilli pigeon burgers, salted weaver ants, BBQ Mole Crickets and chocolate dipped worms amongst other things on their stand. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A group of students from McGill University in Montreal were awarded the 2013 Hult Prize, for producing a protein-rich flour made from insects. The prize gives the students $1 million in seed money to begin creating what they call “Power Flour,” first using grasshoppers. Mealworms are one of the only insects currently consumed in the Western world. They are raised in the Netherlands for human consumption, as well as for animal feed. The nutritional value of mealworms is hard to beat. Apparently they are rich in copper, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc and selenium, and comparable to beef in terms of protein content, but have a greater number of healthy, polyunsaturated fats.

So before you cringe and gag at the thought of eating insects don’t be surprised if you see grasshopper protein powder at your favourite local juice bar or mealworm risotto on the menu at the newest trendy restaurant.

– Written by Jessica Patterson, Founder of JPR Media Group

Amanzi Tea

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Widest selection of teas on Brewer Street, Soho

History and background:

Drinks courtesy of Amanzi Tea. 

With over 150 different types of loose-leaf tea, Amanzi Tea hosts one of the widest range of premium quality unique blends in London. Amanzi offers a range of white, black, green and exotic teas. Matcha latte and Matcha frappes also highlight the menu, a range from super-detoxing matcha ginger to matcha chai.

Classic teas are also available such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey, with food available sourced from Cocomaya. Situated just off Brewer Street is its second branch, with the original Amanzi located in Marylebone offering a similarly extravagant range of teas.

Calling themselves ‘tea-ristas’ you’ll come to find them to have extensive knowledge on the variety of teas. Tasting stations and tea tasters are widely on hand to help you pick your choice.

The drinks:

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A selection of little goodies can be consumed alongside your drink
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A range of drinks in cute bottles on display, tea sets and stirrers are available for purchase too
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Packets of premium quality loose leaf teas also available for purchase
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Bubble teas!

Priced competitively at £3.95, Amanzi offers flavours which differ from your usual Chatime, Vanilla, Cherry, Lychee and Passion Fruit caught my eye, along with fresh tapioca. Albeit a small range, it’s pretty impressive for one a tea specialist to offer signature drinks from Taiwan!

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A unique matcha bar at Amanzi

Per my previous comments, Amanzi has a matcha bar available which can also be ordered as a frappe. Brewer Street is well known for its Japanese restaurants and Chinatown is just a stones throw away, the addition of the matcha bar at Amanzi proves popular for its Asian locals.

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Beneficial blends such as Immuni-Tea, Detox and Hangover are some of the most popular on the menu.

What is great about Amanzi is the description of each tea it gives you,the benefits and ingredients are also listed out. Great transparency here.

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Popping bubbles are available too
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This one caught me eye! Black tea – Golden Monkey King
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An array of colours – all organic though!

We had a selection of fine teas such as Gyokuro (Japanese), Jasmine Pearl (Chinese) and Cinnamon Spice (Indian).

Gyokuro is a Japanese rarity of the top class. The tea gardens are covered with bamboo mats two weeks before plucking. The liquor has a deep green flavor with a hint of sweetness. This was one of my favourite teas of the day, sweet yet bitter at the same time. Enjoyed it hot.

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Our frappe, green tea, and bubble tea

We had the Matcha ginger lemonade, Green Dragon Bubble Tea with lychee popping bubbles, and Taro bubble tea.

Matcha Ginger lemonade is a virgin cocktail shaken with pure matcha, fresh lemon, ginger and agave. Served over ice. A very refreshing drink and great to quench your thirst.

Green Dragon Bubble Tea is based on matcha green tea, blended and served with customised bubbles – we chose the lychee ones. The lychee popping bubbles came as a surprise, full of flavour and aromatic. All the fruit bubbles are filled with various kinds of fruit juice and burst in your mouth when consumed.

Taro is a starchy edible tropical Asian fruit eaten worldwide. Tapioca pearls are made from the starch from the cassava root and are cooked fresh daily.

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I can never resist Taro!
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Bits and bobs:

  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Feeling queasy? They’ll know the right tea for you
  • Walking distance from both Oxford Circus station and Piccadilly
  • Plenty of seats and spacious too

Price: £

Amanzi Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

The Shrub and Shutter

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Blackboard concept at The Shrub and Shutter
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Cosy and intimate front interior

History and Background:

Courtesy of The Shrub and Shutter.

A small little gem hidden on Cold Harbour Lane can easily be amiss-ed given its dull and dark exterior.  A surprise beckons though, upon entry you’ll find quirky instruments lining the wall, chalked up blackboards with recommendations, and a chill atmosphere supported by funky music.

Opened Autumn 2014, Brixton has welcomed The Shrub and Shutter with open arms.

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Find the hidden cocktail! Written upside down and the font half the size…
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Oh you’re given a magnifying glass too

The meal: (£21 for 2 courses, £26 for 3 courses)

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Hill top hood £9
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Slum dog Milionaire £9

Known for their eccentric and unique cocktails, The Shrub and Shutter also does a neat little set menu deal for 2/ 3 courses that can be eaten alongside your drinks. The hill top hood made of whitley neill gin, fresh ginger, cucumber, fresh lemon, ginger, avocado shrub and flying fish sashimi.   Yes, that’s sashimi on your cocktail!

The slum dog millionaire, attached with a scratch card, consisted of warner edwards gin, warner edwards sloe gin, bitter truth apricot, redcurrant, mango chutney shrub, fresh lemon, grenadine, soda, frozen redcurrants.

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Chickpea fries and aioli £5 (extra – off set menu)
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A taster of locally sourced sausage
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smoked duck breast, port and red onion marmalade, pickled onion

Following cocktails, we got a bit greedy and ordered a third appetizer off the set menu, the chickpea fries were a pleasant surprise and delighted our taste buds. Filling and steaming hot, I’d like to believe we took the much healthier option than our normal fries!

Smoked duck breast and pickled mackerel highlights the starters. Both served cold with intention, the first a very tender affair, the duck breasts accompanied by a side salad to balance out the texture. Pickled mackerel, with rhubarb and rye maybe for one with an acquired taste. The sourness lingers on your tongue which is then softened with sweetness of the rhubarb.

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pickled mackerel, rhubarb, rye
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fish bangers and mash, butter peas and lobster gravy

Main star of the show were fish bangers and mash, the first I’ve had with lobster gravy. Interesting combination of sauces and condiments resulted in a very good dish. Generous amount of lobster sauce but not too much that it would overcome the fish sausage and mash. The fish bangers were soft and flavorful, most are used to a meaty texture, but these are reminiscent of the chinese fish balls you can get.

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lamb rump, champ potatoes, shallot, rainbow chard, jus
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Cooked to perfection!

The lamp rump was delicate and tender, with rainbow chard and jus, it keeps the moisture within the meat when eaten together. Only thing to note – our stomachs could cater for more!

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chocolate, hazelnuts, mascarpone, raspberry

The chocolate filled dessert above was a little too rich however if you like sweet and rich, this is your thing. Topped with goodness, hazelnuts and raspberries, these are sourced local to Brixton. The below spiced pear was to my preferred taste, a ginger-y feel to end your night. Makes quite a good palette cleanser too!

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Spiced pear, ginger cake, clementine espuma

The service: Staff friendly, intimate and very knowledgeable on their cocktails!

Bits and bobs:

  • No shop front signage, you will need to go by GPS or the address! (336 Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8QH)

Price: ££

The Shrub & Shutter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

Global Street Food Kitchen

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Global Street Food Kitchen Hounslow

History and Background:

Meal courtesy of Global Street Food Kitchen.

Situated in a restaurant/ shopping complex by the large Hounslow Asda, Global Street Food Kitchen is easily accessible from 2 different Hounslow tube stations and a nearby car parking area.

Focuses on the quality and the sourcing of its ingredients over a variety of cuisines, the concept of Global Street Food Kitchen is a unique one. The open kitchen is a visual highlight of the restaurant whereby you can witness the experience and array of skills each chef has.

Online reviews have highly rated GSFK as one of the best in Hounslow, a restaurant suited for locals and foodies alike. Albeit not in the centre but one worth going if you’re within arm’s length!

A soon-to-open second branch of Global Street Food Kitchen will hit Central London’s west end this year and will certainly be the one to watch for 2016

The meal:

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Snazzy drinks at GSFK
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Fiery Chicken Wings £3.00

Dishes here work differently to your normal a la carte menu, with 6 different types of cuisines under one restaurant, there is no difference between its starters or mains. Simply put, its multi-cuisine style tapas! The wings here albeit only 3, were presented neatly and coated with crisp spring onions and plenty of flavour. The quesadillas were light and thin but did not hold the crisp texture one would usually get.

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Chicken, Corn and chili Quesadilla £5.50
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Prawn Tempura £7.50

Delving into some Chinese cuisine with some battered dishes. First namely, the Prawn tempura, did not hold much oil (which is good ) and prawns were aromatic especially being paired with carefully chosen dips.

Opinions for the aubergines were divided, I particularly loved it, whereas Louise wasn’t a big fan of the soy sauce that complemented with it. The concentration of soy however was only towards the bottom of the dish which wouldn’t be too unreasonable considering how runny the sauce is.

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Aromatic Crispy Aubergines £4.50
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Arancini £4.50

These arancinis were filled with Arborio rice & cheese, these are also called ‘little oranges’ as part of traditional Sicilian street food dating back to the 10th century. A little twist to these and not your usual arancini balls from Pizza Express, or Arancia and is something for those with an acquired taste.

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Freshly made nachos £4.00

Another GSFK take on nachos, freshly made and a very generous portion for only £4.00. You’ll find the dishes here are priced very reasonably and good value for money.

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Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli £5.50
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Portobello Mushrooms on sourdough bread £3.50

The two above were my favourites. Baked cauliflower and broccoli, you can argue that its healthy! Baked with ‘wintery cheese sauce’ and made crisp at the top. Perfect. The mushrooms on toast was everyone’s highlight of the day, Portobello mushrooms with shallots, cream & parsley, served on sourdough bread. The cream complemented the mushrooms and bread well, allowing the transition in texture to flow well. From soft to crispy.

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GSF Classic beef burger £6.50 (mini versions)
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Beer battered fish and chips £6.50

Classic American and British food done GSFK style, the fish was cooked very well and held lots of flavour, if we weren’t so full I’m pretty sure we would have finished this in one go!

Hand cut triple cooked chips can also be ordered as a side, meaty with the extra crisp.

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Butter Chicken £7.50
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Peppers and rosemary chicken pizza £6.50

Unfortunately I did not favour the take on the pizza at GSFK, we had peppers, rosemary and chicken but yet the full aroma did not come out well enough, personally, the dough base was also too thin for me.

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Homemade Bread and Butter Pudding
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Peach and Vanilla Slice £3.00

You can’t leave GSFK without trying their desserts. The bread and butter pudding served hot with caramel on the side to suit your taste buds!

Nothing can go wrong with apple crumble and custard, an English favourite, an Eatwithsteph favourite, and a GSFK favourite too.

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Apple Crumble and Custard £3.00

Service: Welcoming staff and not too intrusive

Bits and bobs:

  • 5-7 minute walk from Hounslow East
  • Caters for events – a large restaurant seating 100+

Price: £