It's quick, healthy and crunchy ... The breakfast trifle.
Hot Food can come from anywhere. A new ingredient will pop up on one menu, then two, then three … and suddenly it's trending all over town. A technique such as smoking, charring or pickling will come along to give our regular eating a twist. Or a blast from the past makes its way back into the spotlight (hello jaffles and milkshakes, it's been too long).
So to look back over the year's weekly columns is to journey through the food fashions of the year. That's not to dismiss them as fads, because how else are we to learn about new things, update our internal gastronomic glossaries, and evolve our cooking at home. Besides, they often come as part of a wider trend rolling through our lives.
So if you're not already cooking some of these at home, you could be very soon.
Beef cheeks and lamb ribs started appearing on every second chef's shopping list not as a fad, but as a response to using secondary cuts and not wasting any part of the animal. Ditto potato skins, for not wasting any part of the vegetable.
Mac cheese started trending as a side order because of our fundamental need for comfort food in a changing world – and because a little mac cheese is better for you than a lot (and better for you than none at all). Duck-fat potatoes, same thing.
The surge in great little bars-with-food around town, resulted in so many crumbed and deep-fried things, I had to space them out over the year, from Spanish croquetas to Italian arancini and British Scotch eggs (yet to come, after a civilised break: crumbed and fried brains). Green smoothies and paleo-friendly protein balls are clearly an attempt to find some balance in our lives and our diets, after all those crumbed and deep-fried things.
If you've been following Hot Food, then you'll already know that baked egg shakshuka and fruity breakfast trifles have colonised the all-day breakfast cafe menu, demolishing egg-and-bacon rolls and eggs benny. And if your knee-jerk green of choice for dinner is still frozen peas, then you clearly missed the columns on lovely, salty samphire, the asparagus of the sea; and the "Russian roulette" pepper, pimientos de padron, in season now for the next couple of months.
Some trends you could see coming a mile off. The next-gen chefs' clear preference for American food over European has seen Louisiana crab boils, Cobb salads, popcorn and gumbo wash up on our shores. And when the whole world loves its coffee, chocolate and ice-cream, an affogato that combines all three was always going to be hot.
Here are twelve of the coolest Hot Foods of 2013, chosen with summer hols in mind. And here's looking forward to another great year of new and interesting things to eat, drink and learn about in 2014.
Be A Hot Food Spotter
If you spot any new trends in the restaurants, cafes, bars and fresh food markets that you think are going to be huge (or you fall in love with and want to know how to do yourself at home), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.