Flavour expert reveals tasty food pairings you'd NEVER put together

The food pairings you would NEVER put together: Flavour expert reveals the bizarre but tasty combinations she swears by – including chicken with banana and chocolate paired with mustard

  • Niki Segnit, UK-based author of The Flavour Thesaurus, told of best food pairings
  • She is working with Ocado to mark launch of Marks & Spencer products on site
  • Pairings include steak and coffee, chicken with banana and halloumi with orange

An unusual flavour can often win over the masses, with dishes like pork cooked in Coca-Cola, chicken served with waffles and chocolate with a dash of chilli widely enjoyed across the globe.

But while many concoctions have become loved by the public, a flavour expert has shared some of the more unusual matches that have probably never crossed your mind.

To mark the launch of British retailer Marks & Spencer on Ocado, the online supermarket commissioned leading UK-based author of The Flavour Thesaurus, Niki Segnit, to find new and unexpected foods that pair perfectly with everyday favourites – including chicken, cheddar, tomatoes and pears.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Niki explained that coffee, anchovy and sauerkraut pair well with steak, while passion fruit and caramel are tasty additions to salmon dishes.

To mark the launch of Marks & Spencer on Ocado, the online supermarket commissioned leading UK-based author and food fanatic Niki Segnit to find new and unexpected foods that pair perfectly with everyday favourites (pictured)

According to the expert, compatible tastes for chicken include banana, prune and pork, as well as rose water and eggs.

While vegetarian favourite halloumi, which is typically served in a burger or with salad, goes well with oranges, grilled watermelon and baked beans. 

Niki explained: ‘Roasting different types of food – such as steak and coffee – creates a strong overlap in flavours because the roasting process creates the same type of molecules.

‘There are many wonderful matches to be discovered, and you don’t need a PhD in molecular gastronomy to start experimenting. 

‘Interesting and unusual flavour matches can be made with common store-cupboard ingredients, like cheese and marmalade, or chocolate and aubergine.’ 

NIKI SEGNIT’S TOP FOOD PAIRINGS TO TRY 

· Bacon and banana

· Salmon and caramel

· Cheddar and marmalade

· Steak and coffee

· Coffee and orange

· Cumin and Stinky Cheese

· Apricot and Lentil

· Mushroom and Blueberry

· Avocado and Sugar

· Blackcurrant and Peanut

· Grapefruit and Juniper

· Potato and Lemon

· Chicken and banana

· Pineapple and Prosciutto

· Apple and hummus

· Chocolate and mustard

· Butternut squash and nutmeg

· Chicken with grapes

 · Goats cheese and cherries

The study follows research from Ocado which shows that 49 per cent of Brits are currently struggling for inspiration when it comes to new recipes and meal ideas. 

More than eight in 10 adults have a ‘weird’ food combination they love – including chocolate with crisps, fish fingers and custard, and hot dogs with jam.  

Other unusual pairings included Weetabix with butter, salad cream and sausages, and mayonnaise on toast. 

Baked beans and rice, milkshake and fries, and banana and bacon also made the top 50 strange pairings enjoyed by Brits. 

THE UK’S TOP 50 WEIRD FOOD COMBINATIONS 

1. Mixing mayonnaise and ketchup together

2. Cheddar cheese and apple

3. Salt and porridge

4. Pasta and ketchup

5. Pizza and tuna

6. Milkshake and fries

7. Sugar sandwiches

8. Prosciutto and melon

9. Chocolate and crisps

10. Banana and sugar sandwiches

11. Ham marinated and cooked in cola

12. Strawberry and basil

13. French fries and pickles

14. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar

15. Watermelon and feta

16. Baked beans and rice

17. Butter and sugar sandwiches

18. Dipping toast into tea

19. Ketchup and rice

20. Salad cream and sausages

21. Dry, buttered Weetabix

22. Tuna with salt & vinegar crisps

23. Cold baked beans in a salad

24. Mango and chili powder

25. Pot noodle on toast

 

 26. Cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches

27. Yorkshire pudding with sugar

28. Ice cream and fries

29. Honey and pizza

30. Cold Brussels sprouts and gravy

31. Mayonnaise on toast

32. Crisps and brown sauce

33. Watermelon and salt

34. Pasta sandwiches

35. Blueberries and steak

36. Salami with grapes

37. Tea and coffee in the same cup

38. Banana and bacon

39. Chicken and marmalade

40. Mince pies topped with cheese

41. Lettuce in a sugar and vinegar dressing

42. Banana bread with cheddar cheese

43. Melted chocolate on a cheese pizza

44. Apple and bacon on toast

45. Hot dogs and jam

46. Peanut butter and burger

47. Ketchup on popcorn

48. Chocolate and avocado

49. Chips covered in chocolate/honey

50. Fish fingers and custard

 

Those polled also included pasta sandwiches, apple and bacon on toast, and butter and sugar sandwiches on their lists of strange combinations. 

Lisa McDowell, head of brand marketing at Ocado, added to FEMAIL: ‘It is all too easy to default to buying and eating the same foods over and over again – especially when you are feeling busy or up against it. 

‘With the largest range of any grocer – and now the full M&S Food offering too – we hope Niki’s novel pairings will empower cooks to discover the many food and flavour combinations available at ocado.com, and to look at the contents of their fridge and store-cupboard with a fresh pair of eyes.’

Ocado’s recipe for Marmalade Chicken Thighs by Jessie and Lennie Ware

INGREDIENTS 

  • 6 chicken thighs (skin on or off)
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of thick cut marmalade
  • 1.5 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • Juice of one large orange
  • 1 orange cut in thin circle slices with skin on
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1.5 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pepper to season
  • Optional 1 red chilli finely sliced, seeds removed

METHOD 

Preheat the oven to 180 fan.

Combine all the ingredients apart from the orange slices in a bowl, mix thoroughly.

Place the chicken thighs in a baking tray and coat thighs with the mixture.

Add a grind of pepper.

Cook for 50 mins. Half way through, scatter the orange slices around the baking tray. If the chicken is browning too quickly place an orange slice over the thigh or put some tin foil over the tray.

Garnish with the finely sliced red chilli and serve with green beans, tenderstem broccoli and either rice or mashed potato.

Ocado’s recipe for Miso & Chocolate Cookies by Jessie and Lennie Ware

INGREDIENTS 

  • 250g melted butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons White Miso
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 eggs + 1 extra egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white or black sesame seeds
  • 200g white chocolate chips (optional swap out 50g of white chocolate for 50g dark chocolate chips)
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

METHOD 

Melt the butter in a pan or microwave (you can use room temperature butter though).

Cream the butter and the sugar together with a whisk, until it changes to a paler colour.

Add the eggs and egg yolk to the butter and sugar and whisk for a minute.

Stir through the miso paste.

Add all dry ingredients to the mixture and stir to combine along with the chocolate.

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan for a couple of minutes until they turn to a golden brown colour, then add to the mixture.

Cover the mixture with clingfilm and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Overnight even better!

Preheat the oven to 160 fan.

Spoon the dough into generous and relaxed walnut sized balls onto baking paper on a baking tray. Leave them in ball shape and keep a generous space between the balls. Put into the oven and bake about 6 cookies at the time for 10-12 minutes, turning the tray around half way through if browning one side too quickly.

After 12 minutes, take them out of the oven and let them sit on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool. They may seem underdone in the middle but that will give the chewiness when they cool down.

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