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Thoughts from category: Food and Drink

a sustainable diet - Katie & Atha go Masterchef

Katie and Atha both took on the challenge of creating some Livewell recipes for the rest of us - we think they might have Masterchef aspirations.

Katie - masterchef
Katie gives us spiced rice salad and prawn fajitas.

Spiced Rice Salad - serves 1

Ingredients: 75g brown rice, 1 x apple (ideally nice and crunchy), 1 x pepper (your choice of colour) and some peas.

Dressing: Tablespoon natural yoghurt, teaspoon garam masala

  1. cook rice and allow to cool
  2. chop up apple and pepper, cook peas and allow them to cool
  3. mix apple, pepper and peas into cooked rice
  4. mix yoghurt and garam masala and taste - change quantities to taste preference
  5. stir in dressing to rice mix

Can be made ahead for a lunchbox - but make sure you only cut up the apple just before eating to stop it from going brown. Optional extras to add would be steamed chicken or salad.

Prawn Fajitas - use the per person quantities from the Livewell menu

  1. fry onion
  2. add prawns and some yummy fajita spice mix
  3. add pepper
  4. serve with some lettuce and fajita wraps

Optional extras - kidney beans or use chicken instead of prawns.

Atha shows us his prowess in the vegetarian kitchen with Spinach and Chickpeas.

Ingredients: a tin of chickpeas, 200g spinach, 3 tomatoes (depulped and sliced), 3-4 cloves of garlic, 1 red chilli (remove seeds and slice), 1/2 teaspoon cumin, seasoning (salt, pepper and oregano), olive oil.

  1. sautee garlic and chilli in oil
  2. once oil is hot and garlic has just softened, add cumin (for 10 seconds)
  3. add the tin of drained chickpeas, stir to ensure that they are coated with the flavoured oil
  4. after a couple of minutes add the tomatoes and stir, cook for a couple of minutes
  5. add the spinach, once it is all wilted add some of the juice from the tinned chickpeas
  6. add seasoning
  7. stir and allow to reduce by a third

We hope that you enjoy trying out their recipes.

a sustainable diet - simon talks savings

Simon works in our finance team and for 4 years was responsible for buying all the fruit that goes in our smoothies – he knows some stuff about buying food (albeit that on his buying trips he sported some questionable headwear – he’s on the left).

P1000587
Growing your own fruit & vegetables

You don’t need lots of space to grow your own food. It’s amazing what you can get out of a plant pot and things seem to grow even in fairly poor soil. We only have a small yard. At the end of April we planted: 10 tomato plants, 2 courgette plants and half a dozen different herbs. Next year we aim to increase the range once I’ve put in a new vegetable bed.

The courgettes have been phenomenal – between the 2 plants for the last eight weeks we have had a good sized courgette every other day. We had our first tomato last week. The plants are dripping in fruit. We staggered when we planted so I think we will get 8-10 weeks without having to buy a single tomato from the shops. We use fresh herbs daily and they really lift dishes.

The total plant cost was around ~£25. I predict if I bought this fruit, it might cost upwards of £50.

Pick your own fruit & veg

Living in London with such easy access to food, we have lost sight of picking our own produce – it seems to be a hazy memory of our childhood. We took our 16 month old daughter to a PYO Farm. We bought: raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries, beetroot, carrots, parsley, courgettes, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, broad beans.


We ate the vegetables and strawberries fresh (NB broad beans once blanched freeze well). Raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries freeze really well. (NB Best thing is to freeze them on metal trays first and then transfer them to bags so they hold their shape). Everything was amazingly fresh. We picked 4 BIG supermarket recycle bags full of produce. Total cost was £62. I estimate that from the supermarket this would have been £200+

Using class 2 fruit

As consumers we have all come to expect total uniformity in the produce we buy. This drive for perfectionism means there is often unnecessary waste at the farm level. Almost all ‘second grade’ fruit or veg is fresh - it’s just a bit misshapen – does this matter? When you get your fruit and veg at the market you will need to check the quality a little more carefully than the supermarket but typically >80% of it is great.

There are big big savings here. I predict market fruit and veg is possible 50% cheaper than the supermarket. It’s also great having an interaction with other shoppers and stall holders. There are some amazing characters at markets and you can pick up some good recipe ideas from them

Cooking from scratch

We’re all busy and there could be a view that cooking from scratch is too time consuming. But in line with Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute cooking, it needn’t be. For example making fresh bread – once you’ve made your own bread it will be hard for you to ever go back to ready-made. And it’s a myth that you need lots of equipment, a bread maker or a special oven. My recommendation is to get into sourdough bread for the fantastic depth of flavour, brilliant rising capabilities and amazing texture. Use any excess starter/dough to make pizza. It makes such good pizza that your guests will think you have trained in Naples.

Simon - italian chef
You also know you are not eating any nasties because you are controlling what goes in and it’s definitely cheaper. I reckon a batch of 6 loaves costs me £2. The equivalent quality pre-made would be £9. NB spare loaves freeze well.

“I usually add enough salt to grit a road in 2 ft of snow. I have cut it altogether and don't miss that either”

Simon - salt
Put all these thoughts together and cooking/eating becomes much more interesting, more sustainable and definitely cheaper. Brekkie is usually home baked bread, lunch is a Tupperware salad box and supper some sort of carbohydrate/vegetable base with a little meat a few days a week. Maybe we have a proper piece of meat once every few weeks.

a sustainable diet - girl and boy

Jojo is one our people’s champions – the really nice people who answer the banana phone and have a chat with you. Jojo did the diet with her boyfriend Chris.

Here’s Jojo looking fabulous as usual.

Jojo

“the diet was fine with me but much trickier for Chris as he just didn't understand not putting as much meat in things as he's used to. I tend to be a bit stingier with these things which comes from my mam who went very easy on meat when I was growing up to save money”

Jojo - save money

“I did struggle a bit with the oil rationing as I cook with lots of olive oil but we used a spray for the week. Think I'll still have gone over my quota though. I also found it a bit tricky to turn down burger lunches at the Regent but my waistline was very grateful. To be honest I quite liked being able to say that I was following the diet as I saved a bit of money and had a really healthy week.”

“Even though I exercise a lot I thought the amount of food was very generous and didn't really eat any of the snacks. Think Chris might have eaten my share though...”

grassy road trip

HGV_logo
Ever since we published our family recipe book Hungry? back in May, lots of people have been asking us if we're going to do a book tour.

Because, after all, every good book deserves a good book tour

Especially a grass covered one

So that's exactly what we're going to do

Van

From 9th-24th September, the Hungry Grassy Van (HGV) will be hitting the road to take tasty, healthy food to the nation.

Using recipes from Hungry?, we'll be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in all the places we visit.

Dishes will cost between £2 or £3 or you can tick off your 5-a-day for just £5 with our special meal deal

Burger

The tour kicks off in London before heading on to Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow and then back to London again

And you can win the chance for the HGV to come along and visit your event

If you live in one of the places above and are having a school fayre, cricket match, jumble sale or a late summer BBQ for your street around those dates, the HGV could be serving up veggie burgers and rainbow chips for all your guests

THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

To enter, all you need to do is tell us why you the HGV should visit your event in 100 words

You have until the 29th August to enter and we'll pick a winner for each city we visit

We'll let you know more details about the HGV tour closer to the time

For now though, you can find out a bit more by clicking here

a proper feastival

Feastival

The excellent Anna Jones (who created the recipes for our new family recipe book, Hungry?) came along with me to Jamie Oliver’s Feastival on Clapham Common last weekend to talk about the book, make some recipes with kids and dust off the old Blendavenda smoothie bike.

Jamie

Here we are before the carnage ensued

Hungry

Fruit prepped, ingredients laid out and head mikes donned, we got kids making the old bread and squashed tomato salad and fruit mess recipes from the book and then followed it with a bun fight to see who got to pedal the smoothie bike first

Kids

Though the fighting was mainly amongst all the mums and dads trying to have a go.

Thanks to everyone who came along, squashed, pedalled and ate the results.

Hopefully we'll be going along to more things like this over the summer and we'll be sure to give you plenty of warning the next time we do