Weird Food Combinations That Actually Work

Anna Jay
Refinery 29 UK
Photographed by Trey Wright

Have you ever stumbled through your front door after a night out and thought it would be a good idea to make some pasta with harissa paste on it? Rice and cheddar? We've all been there, and felt the next-day shame. It's this type of trial and error however, that has led us to discover some unusual but pleasant food combinations over the years.

While we don't claim to be experts in flavour pairing, we do think Heston Blumenthal would appreciate the culinary inventions detailed across the following slides. And the best news? They're cheap, comprise easily available ingredients and are super simple to make. Read on if you want to treat your tastebuds to something new and delicious.

This article was first published Feb 19, 2016.

Cheese, Honey & Instant Coffee

Sounds weird, right? This winning combination originated from 30 Minute Meals, in which Jamie O suggests drizzling wedges of Manchego with honey and instant coffee. In university at the time, my shared house all immediately went to try it, and it's fucking good. There's the sourness of the cheese, then you get the sweet honey, followed by the bitter coffee on the back.

Photographed by Trey Wright

French Fries & Ice Cream

Sounds a bit like something out of a weight-gain documentary. BUT, if you're looking for something to jazz up those cold fries you picked up from Chicken Cottage pre-nightbus, head straight for the freezer. Vanilla only please.

Photographed by Trey Wright

Bananas Wrapped In Bacon

As described in The Flavour Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit (a great book), bananas in their early stage take on grassy notes, which as they ripen turns to clove, then vanilla, rum and honey. She suggests winding bacon around a banana and grilling until crisp - not in the least bit sophisticated, but fun. Um, peel first please.

Photographed by Trey Wright

Avocado & Chocolate

The raw food craze that's taken us by storm (on Instagram particularly) has driven health fanatics to look for natural replacements to indulgent ingredients like butter and cream. The avocado's texture lends itself to dessert, hence the avocado and chocolate mousse you might have seen pop up over the past couple of years. Although we say if you're going to make a choke mousse, you might as well do it properly with lashings of cream. Still this makes for a pleasant pairing.

Photographed by Trey Wright

Spaghetti & Marmite

From Kitchen by Nigella Lawson, not only the book that gave us Grasshopper Pie (a marshmallow mint chocolate pie of dreams), but also gave us this most basic three-ingredient recipe for Marmite pasta. And if you don't even like Marmite, this basically tastes like a really salty version of the childhood favourite 'pasta and butter'.

Recipe can be found here, but simply cook the amount of pasta you want and stir in a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of marmite when it's cooked and drained.

Photographed by Trey Wright

Hula Hoops & Nutella

Like a way less chic version of Lindt's sensational dark chocolate with sea salt flakes. The saltiness of the crisp is just too good with the sweet Nutella. A dangerously addictive combination.

Also works well with Pringles if Hula Hoops aren't to hand. Oh and for god sake it's ready salted only here; use BBQ Beef at your peril.

Photographed by Trey Wright

Coffee & Steak

Caffeine and red meat wouldn't be top of the list for healthy pairings, but coffee as a marinade or rub for steak has been common in the American South, according to The Flavour Thesaurus. The roasted flavour of the coffee is known to intensify beef to give it a gamier taste.

Photographed by Trey Wright

Broccoli & Wotsits

This one's pretty hard to imagine for even the most creative cooks. But think cauliflower cheese... broccoli cheese... then we arrive at broccoli and wotsits. Sounds laboured, but this recipe from Saveur introduces Cheetos, the Wotsits' American cousin, as a crunchy topping.

Photographed by Trey Wright

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