Author Archives for Charlie Hodson

About Charlie Hodson

Charlie recently turned his life-long passion of writing into his day job and hasn't looked back. Although a keen foodie, Charlie writes on topics as diverse as tennis, humanism, content marketing, and paramotoring. When he's not writing about things, he's doing them.
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Chinese New Year: an incredible spectacle

January 13, 2016 4:42 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Those that have been lucky enough to be in China or a Chinese area in a big metropolis outside of the country for their New Year will have seen first hand what a spectacle their New Year celebrations can be. The fireworks, paper dragons and money-filled red envelopes are bright reminders of their generosity and immense fun. And the variety of incredible foods that go along with the celebration is mind-blowing. You may like: Chinese food: the regional differences In 2016, the year of the monkey, New Year will be on February 8th, so let’s look at some of the cuisine and customs that make Chinese New Year a celebration like no other. The traditional approach Chinese culture is steeped in tradition, and New Year is no different. Markets brightly decorated with lanterns will sell clothing, decorations, food and fireworks. Meanwhile, houses will be given a complete clean in a gesture that takes away the old and ushers in the new. Bright red paper “Fu” will be hung on doors, furniture and in windows to express good wishes and a happy future for all. While the New Year festivities last for several weeks, the party for most begins on New Year’s... View Article


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A new way of feeding the world: changing the way we eat

December 29, 2015 10:46 am Published by Leave your thoughts

If there’s an elephant in the room for the food supply chain right now, its sustainability. From how food is grown, through to manufacture and into processing and how we eat, the current chain is hugely wasteful. The United Nations Environment Programme has estimated that roughly one-third of all food is wasted globally. The crisis the world faces is more than a humanitarian one. While one in nine people on the planet doesn’t have enough food, the damage is made worse by what happens to that wasted food. It invariably rots and creates more methane, on top of the carbon impact of original production and the subsequent transportation. You may like: 4 classic Indian herbs and spices to grow at home People all over the world are trying to do something about this. They face ingrained attitudes, big corporate interests in keeping the status quo, and lackadaisical government departments with other issues on their plate. One such person looking to tackle this problem, and pioneering new food production processes at the same time is Josh Tetrick, CEO and founder of food manufacturer, Hampton Creek. Making changes Tetrick has looked at the current state of the food supply chain and concluded that... View Article


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Wondering what the predicted food trends are for 2016?

December 22, 2015 11:30 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The UK is a very food-centric place. This is all the more impressive when you consider where we’ve come from. Historically, as a nation, we were not known for our culinary prowess. While lumpy gravy and granny’s overcooked veg are fairly stereotypical, we didn’t cover ourselves in gastronomic glory in the pre-war years. You may like: The weird and wonderful world of Japanese theme restaurants Things are very different now. How and where we eat, who we eat with and what we’re eating are all hot topics and subject to frequent change. As our society changes, so too do our habits, so what food trends can we expect to be on our plates in 2016? Sustainable food and reducing wasted food It’s not just the UK who are becoming more aware of the need for sustainability in the food we eat. Expect to see increased use of vegan and vegetarian ingredients along with fiery flavours and sauces to get the taste buds going. Indian flavours are due to make a big impact in 2016, and any cooking that starts with sustainability in mind is sure to be a hit. Sharing platters and communal eating The trend of eating on the run... View Article


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What is Washoku and why is it so integral to the Japanese way of life?

November 26, 2015 9:18 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Those who visit, or simply have an interest in, Japan will have an understanding of the intricate and complex values that make up the country’s cultural identity. This theme comes through clearly in their relationship with food, and nowhere more so than in “Washoku”. Washoku is a term covering the tradition of food in Japan, but is more than just the ingredients. It covers the historical manner of selecting, cooking, serving and enjoying a range of traditional Japanese dishes. This elaborate style has now been placed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. UNESCO set this list up to capture and safeguard important elements of societies that might, if we’re not careful, be forgotten. This includes languages, practices and methodologies – ways of doing things. You may like: The Japanese storecupboard Not that Washoku is currently in any danger of being forgotten: top calibre chefs from all over the world are seeing the incredible gastronomic results that can be had from Washoku. Sat Bains, Jozef Youssef, Valentine Warner and Heston Blumenthal among others have all taken Washoku to heart and are using elements of it in their cooking. Jozef Youssef of pop-up restaurant Kitchen Theory said to the Guardian recently, “They... View Article


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The weird and wonderful world of Japanese theme restaurants

October 26, 2015 1:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

For those living in the West, the bright and colourful pictures of neon-clad Japan reflect a wonderful and sometimes strange image. When the subject of Japanese food is mentioned, many westerners would struggle to come up with more than “sushi” and “sake”. There is, of course, much more to Japanese food than that. After the recession in the the 1990’s, the early 2000s began to see a pickup in the food sector in Japan, but perhaps not in the way you might expect. Real restaurant innovations began to show through and it was these that were drawing the biggest crowds. You may like: 10 of the most popular Japanese snack foods Theme restaurants began to light the way for a new eating experience in Japan. Robots, cats, total automation, prison hospitals and ninjas all ruled the night. The innovation was simply that people wanted more than just food, they wanted an experience. Boy, do they get an experience. Robo-dining Robots your thing? The “Robot Restaurant” in Shinjuku cost in excess of $10 million to build. Every surface is covered in brightly lit panels, screens and glass that would make a time traveller from the year 3000 feel old hat. Oh, and... View Article


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Cardamom: the queen of spices

October 7, 2015 10:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

So inspired by this spice, Chef Manju Choudhury named his LA restaurant “Cardamom” in its honour. Asked why, he told LA Magazine: “The green of the cardamom represents freshness. It’s used in our starters, mains, sides, desserts, and drinks. Cardamom gives great flavor and fragrance to any dish, and also has medicinal properties. It’s one of my favorite spices.” Its warm, sweet flavour is instantly recognisable. You may like: Garam masala – what, exactly, is it? Cardamom sits happily in both sweet and savoury dishes and has a range of nutritional and health benefits. When used in starters and mains, you’ll find it in Indian curries, Chinese stews and Vietnamese soups. Middle Eastern puddings and Asian sweet bread and biscuits see this smoky spice paired with sugar and rosewater, such is its versatility. And it’s been part of Asian cuisine for centuries. History and location Originally three types of cardamom existed, but now only two remain; both genera of the ginger family. They have two distinct colours: green (Elettaria cardamomum, also known as true cardamom) and black, or Amomum cardamom. Green cardamom is found in India and Malaysia, while Amomum is used mainly in Australasia and Asia. Amomum comes in various hues... View Article