Abi Manning’s favourite discoveries of 2023

Cultjar, Abi Manning's discoveries of 2023

Features writer Abi Manning discloses her obsession with ferments and the artwork which left her mesmerised in her discovery highlights of the year

Cultjar

My obsession with ferments is steadily taking over my pantry, with veg-packed Kilners lining the shelves and kombucha providing a vinegary waft every time you open the door. But I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed taking inspiration for my own concoctions from the numerous inventive flavour combos I’ve tried from Cultjar in Somerset. There are many I could mention, but I’ll give a shout out to the fermented jerusalem artichoke and hoseradish for elevating my Monday-night jacket to the most bougie baked potato imaginable, and the red cabbage, beetroot and garam masala for giving curry night a new twist.

St Austell Brewery

St Austell Brewery’s Cask Club

We’ve been working closely with St Austell Brewery recently and it has led me to discovering their rather exciting Cask Club. Not heard of it either? It’s the small-batch side hustle from the brewery that created Tribute, Proper Job and Korev. The small-batch brewery is where the hop heroes have the opportunity to stretch their creative and innovative muscles in seasonal experimental batches that challenge the boundaries of ingredients, styles and ABVs. They are only available to drink in a very select number of pubs across the South West and via the brewery and online shop. I love sniffing out a hoppy new find so I’ll be keeping up to date with the latest releases.

artist Theo Crutchley-Mack

Theo Crutchley-Mack

On a birthday trip to Fowey in November I was moseying through Fowey River Gallery and spotted some utterly mesmerising 3D artwork by Cornwall-based contemporary artist Theo Crutchley-Mack. ‘Tidal Tender’ was made using a mixture of oils and reclaimed woods – head to Theo’s socials to watch a somewhat devastating reel of him snapping the entire painting apart – all for artistic purposes of course …

Chopping leeks

A recipe for leek and puy lentil gratin with a crunchy feta topping

A busy family life with two young kids means it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with weekday cooking, so I’m always on the hunt for straightforward yet delicious recipes to whip up after work for the family. One I’ve gone back to again and again this year is this leek and puy lentil gratin with a crunchy feta topping from Rukmini Iyer. I do make one fairly major addition, though, which transforms it into the most deliciously warming dish for winter – a couple of generous teaspoons of ras el hanut at step three.

Like Abi Manning’s favourite discoveries? Check out Rosanna Rothery’s here.

Supported by
Churchill Recreate
Indy Cafe Cookbook Volume 2

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Churchill Recreate

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Churchill Recreate

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