N O R T H
W E S T
S P R I N G /S U M M E R
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RAYMOND BLANC COOKING TIPS ULTIMATE SUMMER DIET PLAN VEGAN ALTERNATIVES FIRST DATE COOKING IDEAS TOP LEMON DESSERTS
E D I T O R â€™ S
L E T T E R
We're super excited and proud to welcome you to the very rst edition of the Food Pocket Guide aka FPG! Foodies, get ready for some delicious and mouthwatering recipes, cooking tips from Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc, a summer diet plan and our exclusive interview with Channel 4 First Date's restaurant manager and all-round good guy, Fred Sirieix. After reading this issue, you'll be armed with enough food knowledge to start your own restaurant, ready to wow a rst date and ensure he/she is left wanting more, and be all set to get your body looking tip-top before summer*. We've covered a lot in this issue including easy homemade ice cream recipes, reasons to eat organic, amazing vegan alternatives, our top 7 supe superfoods, wine culture and the beneets of eating cucumber - did you know it's a fruit, and it contains antioxidants which can cure diseases? Using a mobile, tablet or any other device, you can head on over to our website and browse the amazing recipes from our ever growing network of food loving contributors. Follow the recipes with ease and indulge yourself amongst some truly irresistible, healthy and quick food and drink suggestions - and if you're someone who loves to cook, why not become an FPG contributor yourself? Not only can you share your amazing cooking ideas with the world, but the best contributor each month appears on the home page of our website - you can also include links to your socials/blog! So read on, become an FPG contributor and join us on socials for some creative, appetizing tastiness. Enjoy! *FPG is not liable for your new restaurant, do not guarantee you'll get a second date or that you'll drop your waist size before summer with the amount of amazing food here within.
Ben Farrin Founder and Group MD
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FIRST DATE DISHES
REASONS TO EAT ORGANIC
LEMON DESSERTS SUMMER DIET PLAN
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Cutting the onion near hot running water or a cloud of steam. Try using a kettle or saucepan â€“ the steam draws the vapours from the onion, dissolving them in the air.
Onions (the basis of so many dishes) Tinned tomatoes (so versatile) Tinned pulses and beans (very healthy and perfect for bulking out meals on a budget) Dried herbs Wine (not just for drinking, but good for adding flavour!)
Boeuf Bourguignon â€“ a classic French dish with red wine, lardons, baby onions, mushrooms and smooth mash.
Garlic (adds oomph to most savoury dishes and is good for your immune system) Fruit & veg (it can be tricky to get your five a day so think creatively, whether its adding veg to your bolognaise, making fresh soups, or whizzing up a smoothie the morning after the night before) Fish (the omega oils in fish like salmon and tuna will boost brain cells) Red wine! Eggs (great source of protein)
Make something hearty like beouf stroganoff that you can have for lunch the next day. Half the ingredients to make a smaller dish if there’s less people. It’s simple measures like this that can help when you’re on a tight budget. If you stick to simplicity and use ingredients you have, or know you will use again, wastage can be avoided and costs can be cut. Maman Blanc (my mother, who my cooking inspiration comes from) taught me all about not wasting food, the importance of seasonality and generosity. So I make my dishes simple, delicious and seasonal.
Eggs – you can do so much with them, whether it is whipping up a simple omelette for a mid-week supper, or poached on toast for a quick but nutritious breakfast that will kick start your day.
Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, finely chopped garlic and a splash of wine. Allow the wine to reduce then add a dollop of crème fraiche and stir through your cooked pasta of choice (spaghetti works well). For something a little different you can add a little pinch of tarragon to the mushrooms when cooking. If cooking for friends you can scatter over some chopped flat-leaf parsley for that final flourish.
Don’t add the meat to a pan too soon! Add a thin layer of oil to the bottom of a stainless steel or cast iron pan. Heat the oil until it’s very hot and you see ripples, but not so hot that it’s smoking. Then, add the meat. And if you’re cooking skin-on chicken, be sure to place it in the pan skin-side down.
Timing – make sure everything is ready at the right time. Allocate ten minutes for the meat to sit and make sure the potatoes, veg and accompaniments are served piping hot, as soon as they are ready.
Madeleines with warm chocolate sauce. Relatively easy to make, but great fun to share with your friends.
Modern day farming practices mean our food is often laced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), harmful pesticides, and synthetic fertilisers. Whilst you might have thought you’re eating a healthy and well balanced diet, it should come as no surprise that consuming all these toxic chemicals make it difficult to achieve optimal health. Luckily, organic farming still exists; it’s a great way to be kinder to the environment, and our bodies. Here are 5 reasons to go organic!
It’s not so surprising, but research has shown that the nutritional value of food can be dramatically reduced by the use of synthetic farming methods. Organic food, which is grown naturally, is richer in nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants. Minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium are also more present in organic foods.
These are toxins which are damaging to your nerves and brain cells. A certain type of pesticide, which is still commonly used in the farming industry, was once used as a toxic nerve agent during the First World War; that’s how deadly it can be. Once there was no longer a use for it in combat, it was adapted to kill pests living on our food.
As children grow and develop, they are much more susceptible to the negative effects of consuming toxins. Organic food helps their bodies grow without exposing them to these harmful chemicals, which in later life, could have a serious impact on their health.
Our ancestors ate nothing but organic food, so we know that this is a safe and healthy option. However, 80% of our current diets consist of food which has been laced with toxic chemicals, and itâ€™s only very recently that they have become a daily part of our diet. Itâ€™s still an experiment, and in the near future, we could be seeing a wide scale epidemic as a result of consuming pesticides.
For obvious reasons, GMOs, pesticides, and synthetic fertilisers are damaging not only to us, but to our environment. Due to the use of these chemicals, environmental damage has been inflicted on many areas of the world. Organic farming supports our ground and fields and is a sustainable option for the future.
You know it’s summer when you see people gathered on blankets, in fields eating picnics and having fun. You might think you’ve got all the bases covered, but do you know how to avoid getting a soggy bum from the wet grass without using a carrier bag? If the answer is no, read our picnic hacks and you’ll be a picnic pro in moments.
Avoid sitting on a soggy picnic blanket by placing a shower curtain between the blanket and the grass. Take some empty cupcake cases and place them over your drinks to keep the bugs out! Amplify your music through your mobile by placing your phone in a glass, empty of course! If you’re a true picnic pro and like to take seasoning, distribute some into tic-tac boxes - voila! Freeze some bottled water to keep your food and drinks extra cool. Then drink it once you don’t need it for a refreshing ice cold drink. Attach sliced apples to each other using elastic bands this prevents them yellowing. If you haven’t already halved them, you can do this by hand as apples break in half easily! If possible, hang an umbrella upside down on a tree branch to provide the ultimate table to place fruits, bread etc. Easy access and no ants! Tie some greaseproof paper around baguettes using string to stop the filling falling out. Dice watermelon for little hands! Pack vegetables in jars with your desired dip already at the bottom! Freeze grapes and place them in a glass of wine for the ultimate refreshing alcohol treat.
Are you a great cook and want to share your creative cooking talent with foodie lovers? Then you've come to the right place! It's really quick and easy to submit your recipe s TheFoodPocketGuide.com - you can add a on descr ingredients, directions and images. Then subm iption, and voila, your food magic will be approved it your recipe and ready for our foodie fans to enjoy. As a contributor, you're able to edit your prool e social pages if you wish. Each time your recipe and link to your earn points and the person at the end of the is approved, you month with the highest score is featured on our website home page! If you love food and aren't interested in subm itting a recipe then why not browse the selection of dishes alread y You can search via dish type, diet type, main available online? ingredients and cuisines - spot a dish you want to refer to at a later date, simply press the heart icon and it will be saved in your favourites section. This is the food library you need in your life. Head on over to the website now to check out watering, succulent, creative, healthy snacks, the latest mouth dishes and desserts!
Weâ€™ve compiled a list of 7 superfoods you should be eating, making for the perfect mind, body and attitude.
Shocking right? Whoâ€™d have thought these sweet little blue fruits could be a vital aspect in generating a healthy diet and lifestyle? Well, they are and you should deenitely be trying to add more of these superfoods to your routine because they not only boost communication between your brain cells, but they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants too, making for an overall greater immune system. How can we forget, they taste fabulous as well.
Sweet potatoes are very quickly becoming a super trendy food, the next time you sit down to scoﬀ on a baked or roasted version of the alternative to its carb fuelled cousin, think of the nutrients you’re eating. The sweet potato has over a whopping 450% of your daily dosage of Vitamin A making for healthier skin and hair, and as well as that, they are versatile too! You can make just about anything out of these, the same as a white potato and what’s more, it has double the health beneets. wh
Creamy, delicious and a perfect accompaniment for any meal, Greek yogurt is a great 1 of the 7 superfoods for sweet or savoury. Top it on some of those super blueberries, or bake it in a sweet potato for fully loaded skins, the silk delight just oozes deliciousness. Plus, it has double the protein of normal yogurt and tastes just as great.
You’d be a nutter not to start eating more of these, as walnuts have been proven to boost memory and co-ordination through their inclusion of a high omega-3 fat. Just several whole nuts a day and you could be on your way to having better memory than an iPhone, as it’s certiied that eating that amount reaches double your daily dose. Top on salads and throw in a naughty cake, they are a must have in your daily diet.
Silky like butter, this green delight has so many hidden gems; you wouldn’t even begin to imagine how good it is for you. From lowering cholesterol and relieving stress, to containing natural fats that’ll satisfy your cravings for ages, the avocado is the most underrated ingredient around. Often found in guacamole and other cultured dishes, this superfood is also amazing straight from the skin with a spoon.
This pink and beautiful sh is a superlative llet thatâ€™ll keep your heart ticking over for as long as you eat it, because salmon contains your daily recommended omega-3 in just 85 grams! Not only that, but this slippery number has been known to fuel the brain full of energy, making for those early morning wake-up calls to be a doddle. Perfect baked, fried or steamed!
Often referred to as the healthiest food on the planet, eggs are a fantastic, versatile food source that are jammed full of greatness. With 6 grams of protein and only 72 calories per egg, these gifts of the hen are a perfect companion if youâ€™re looking to bulk at the gym or just shed some pounds in general. Eat them daily for breakfast and body fat will drop rapidly, as fundamental experiments have proven that they burn through body fat.
This baked eggs in peppers recipe is super quick to prepare and make. It’s healthy and can be enjoyed on it’s own as breakfast, lunch, or cooked with a side dish (such as potatoes and vegetables) to become a delicious and healthy dinner. Due to living an extremely busy lifestyle, I go for the quickest option and if I’m eating this tasty dish as a main, simply double the serving.
1 egg 1 sweet bell pepper colour of your preference – ideally large in size 1 handful grated cheese 1 tbsp olive oil Extras/seasoning of your choice Black pepper, salt, chives, thyme etc.
Cut the lid off the sweet bell pepper and remove the middle part. If the pepper does not sit well flat, slice a tiny part off the bottom (ensure not to create a hole in the pepper), so it stands upright without falling over. Spread the oil onto a baking tray, then sit the empty pepper on top. Sprinkle half the cheese in the sweet bell pepper and crack the egg on top. Carefully sprinkle the remaining cheese around the sides on top of the egg leaving a gap in the middle for the yolk to cook without being covered. Add extras and seasoning as you see fit. Bake for 10-12 minutes at around 200 degrees and voila!
Whilst scouring the internet for food related ideas, we came across Kai Øveraasen’s Instagram account: i_am_not_wordy and wow, his pictures simply make your mouth water. From succulent juicy meals, to irresistible summer desserts and drinks which make you want to instantly reach for the fridge, this Instagram account is one to follow! It’s no surprise most pictures are generating 1,000+ likes...
FRED SIRIEIX EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
He's best known for appearing on Channel 4's First Dates, but Fred Sirieix is more than just a TV personality. He's a professional that's been in the service industry for 25 years and currently the General Manager at Galvin at Windows, a Michelin-starred restaurant on the 28th oor of the London Hilton on Park Lane. If that isn't enough to keep him busy, he's just nished writing a book called Secret Service, about his career and what has inspired him. We caught up with Fred to have a chat about his book, running a successful restaurant, bizarre foods and wine! Hi Fred, thanks for speaking with me - what have you been up to? I’ve just launched my new book called Secret Service, which is basically a memoire of my career and some stories about things that are important to me and have inspired me. It’s about philosophies and ethos of service which are directly related to restaurants but of course by extension, because the restaurant world is such a blueprint for other businesses because of the customer service.
This book is something I’ve written as a result of someone who’s been working in this industry for 25 years. You’re best known for being on the massive TV hit First Dates, but you’re also the General Manager at Michelin-starred restaurant Galvin at Windows. I was introduced to the restaurant last year, and have spent many occasions sitting back sipping a cocktail overlooking the amazing views of London.
Photo Credit: David Yeo
The entire experience you get from the smell as soon as you walk into London Hilton, to the way you are welcomed by the staff when you get to Galvin at Windows and then the views from the 28th floor - truly spectacular. In your opinion as the General Manager, what is the key to running such a successful restaurant? You need to know what you are doing, and be VERY clear about the minute attentions to detail. About every single aspect of your
business. Also to have a very clear vision and values about what your business is and where you are going. You need to have your finger on the pulse if you are going to deliver the attention to detail that you have in your mind. No stone should be left unturned when you are thinking about a business. Everything has to be just like you want it. You cannot afford to not think about something. You must have seen a huge number of first dates take place
and once said “a love that can last forever, takes but a second to come about”. So, what are your top 3 tips for anyone going on a first date? Dress to impress, wear your smile on your sleeve and pay attention to your date. Can you tell us about what goes on behind the scenes? For a start, the people that make the show are the people on the show which of course means the staff that appear on television, but also the people that you do not see that are behind, making the show and a part of the production company. Our sole vision and intention is to bring people together, to match them to perfection for what could be a life changing experience for them because they’re going to find the person that they want to be with for the rest of their life. This is what we want to do and it is only on this premise that we are there. You clearly have a busy life! When you have a day off, what do you get up to? I don’t have any time off for the next few months. I’m busy with the restaurant and with my book at the moment. But I like to go boxing. I normally train every week but in the last 2 months
Photo Credit: David Yeo
I’ve been unable to go. I keep fit. I get up and do my weights, I run and cycle to work every day so at least I get that in. But in terms of the sparring I was supposed to start this week and I don’t have the time, I can’t do it. Plus, it wouldn’t be right if I get a black eye and have to go on film. Do you cook a lot at home, if so what’s your favourite meal? I cook anything. You know what I really like to cook on Sunday is a roast chicken and French fries with a nice salad. It’s very simple. Don’t get too complicated when you’re at home I think. Is it hard to impress you when it comes to going out yourself for food and drinks? I get impressed by genuine, true, honest, kind people. That will impress me and is what always gets to my heart in no time. Who’s the most famous person you have ever cooked for/welcomed to a restaurant? Many DJs, Daniel Craig and Penélope Cruz. Do you get to choose the Galvin at Windows menu, and if so, where do you get the inspiration from? Yes - we are a French restaurant, but what we do is look at themes, so for example we might have a stance of North of France, or South of France, or the centre and of course everything is led by the season too. We then taste dishes and when we are happy with a series of tasting and we think we have nailed the recipe we then put it on the menu. Before it goes on the menu it has to go through a rigorous checking process to make sure it fits with what our customers want and what our vision is. I’ve just returned from Paris for the first time, and as much as I tried, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat snails or frogs legs. Have I missed out? Ah, they are very nice! You should try. But maybe they are an acquired taste and I don’t realise because
I’ve been eating them since I was a boy. I think they are nice but they all have garlic and parsley, so if you don’t like garlic and parsley butter than you might not like it. The texture might put you off and I do understand that. What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever eaten? When I went to South Korea I ate some pretty strange stuff (to me), because it’s not my culture. There was this crab for example which was marinated in soy sauce and it was almost raw. I just couldn’t do it. Lastly, before you go, please can you clear this up for me - is it good for you to drink a glass of red wine per day? I think so, but I’m not a doctor. But I think it will take some of the stress away and relax you maybe. It also depends how big the glass is! If it’s a reasonable size I think yes, it will be good.
Photo Credit: David Yeo
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Choosing a menu for a first date can be challenging; you want to impress, but you donâ€™t want to challenge yourself to the point it has potential to be a complete disaster. Here we have five dishes; they are easy to prepare, require little cooking time, and look great on the plate. And your date will definitely love them...
1/4 active dry yeast 1 teaspoon salt 3 cups all purpose flour 1-1/4 cup warm water 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs The stigma that pizza is unsophisticated and “lazy” might be more relevant at your 2 cups grated mozzarella Toppings of your choice local kebab place, but homemade pizza Tomato Puree shows elegance and effort. It won’t drip with grease, and regardless of the opinions of others, pizza can be eaten with a knife and fork; especially if it’s homemade. The best part about making a pizza? You can share one big one, or make two smaller ones; and make sure you include their favourite toppings. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan). In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, flour, herbs, and salt. Gradually add the warm water until you have a soft elastic-like dough. On a clean, floured surface, knead for approximately 5 minutes before rolling out into the desired base shape. Using a spoon, carefully spread out the tomato puree over your pizza base leaving enough room around the edges for the crust. On top, sprinkle the mozzarella (and any other cheese you wish to use) before placing your desired toppings on top. Place your pizza in the oven for 30 - 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. To really impress, place a few basil leaves on top for extra presentation points. Serve with a glass of their favourite wine.
A classic first date dish that can be beautifully presented and originates from one of the most romantic countries in the world. Italy is a country renowned for its fantastic dishes, and you can bring the culture and flavour of it straight to your kitchen with this simple bolognese recipe.
250g minced beef 1 medium onion, diced 1 tbs Italian herbs and spices 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup baby mushroom, chopped 2 tins chopped tomatoes 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 beef stock cube 300g spaghetti 1/2 cup parmesan, grated Basil leaves
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil before adding the diced onion, chopped mushrooms and the broken up minced beef. Once the meat is cooked, gradually add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Add the garlic, herbs, salt, and beef stock cube, stir, and then leave to simmer. Meanwhile, place your spaghetti into another boiling saucepan of water. Once cooked, drain and then serve onto plates. Leave a gap in the middle of the spaghetti, and serve up the mince in the middle. Sprinkle over your parmesan cheese, and garnish with a couple of basil leaves. We recommend serving with some crispy garlic bread!
If you love finger food and something a little less informal but tasty, Mexican fajitas are a great way to heat things up. You and your date can assemble your fajitas together, and you can include an array of sauces and dips to really give the illusion of extensive presentation. And they are surprisingly easy to make...
6 - 8 soft white tortillas 300g chicken breast, sliced 2 red and yellow peppers, sliced 1 medium onion, sliced 30g fajita seasoning mix Lettuce, sliced Grated mature cheddar Sour cream Guacamole Cucumber, sliced (any other fillings youâ€™d like to include)
In a large pan, cook the sliced chicken followed by the sliced onion and peppers. Once cooked through, add the seasoning mix and cook for a further few minutes. In a microwave, heat the tortillas for around 30 seconds. Keep the fajita mix heated in a dish above a tealight table warmer. Place desired fillings prepared in individual dishes so guests can pick and choose what goes inside their fajitas. Thereâ€™s bonus points if you include some classic loaded nachos!
300g chicken breast, diced 380g veg of your choice, sliced 350g medium egg noodles 300g black bean stir fry sauce spring onion, chopped
Stir fry is loved by everybody, and it’s not too bad for you either! It’s a rather elegant meal that’s full of unique flavours and always looks rather fancy on a plate. And it couldn’t be any easier to prepare...
In a wok, cook your diced chicken with a little salt and pepper seasoning. In a saucepan, place your noodles into boiling water and boil until soft. Add your prepared vegetables to the cooked chicken, before transferring the soft noodles to the wok. Cook on medium heat until the veg is soft before slowly adding your black bean sauce. Leave to simmer for a few minutes before serving up. Garnish with the chopped spring onion and enjoy!
If you think about it, grilled meats and greens just screams class. Some crunchy vegetables, particularly green beans and broccoli, combined with a juicy grilled chicken breast, and maybe a few fresh baby potatoes... Itâ€™s a sophisticated dish that gives you the freedom to try different combinations, not to mention it is nutritionally balanced. Whilst there are many meats to pick from and countless ways to prepare them, grilling leaves you with those fancy grill marks. Alternatively, if you want to spend more money, you can swap your grilled chicken for a succulent steak; red meat and a glass of red wine compliment each other wonderfully. As for your vegetables, boiled, steamed, or even fried with some exotic seasoning are your best options. To bulk up the meal, itâ€™s a good idea to introduce a carb based side possibly baby potatoes, or maybe even baked sweet potato wedges. So feel free to experiment with such a dish, and know whatever you choose, your date is bound to absolutely love it. TIP: a glass of bubbly makes any meal that little more elegant.
For centuries, wine has been a part of life. It has evolved from a source of nutrition to a complimentary cultural beverage to be enjoyed with a sophisticated meal.
It’s a cultural symbol that, throughout history, often represented a healthy lifestyle as well as wealth and even royalty. The cultural appreciation of fine wines accurately represents the sheer diversity of the wine regions and the culinary habits associated with them. But why are some wines so seriously expensive?
If you’re not an avid wine drinker, then you most likely have little knowledge on what makes a good quality wine and why that causes the price tag to soar. There are usually two main reasons why a bottle of wine might be expensive; first off, quality wines will cost more to make due to the raw materials required to make it. A low-yielding grape from a sophisticated and well cared for vineyard, fermented in beautiful oak barrels by a highly desired wine-making consultant is quite obviously going to be more valuable than a high-yielding grape from an unheard vineyard fermented in a dated stainless steel tank. Secondly, quality wines are often expensive simply because they can be; this is a result of “perceived value” which refers to how much consumers are willing to pay for goods and services. This strange concept usually applies to things that come under the “luxury” category. It can become a bit of a statement to buy expensive, good quality wine. And sometimes, it’s simply the label and bottle that makes it so expensive. The stigma that expensive wine is a symbol of wealth and importance is still very much alive today.
Over the years, wine consumption has gradually decreased, whether this is a result of the revelation that drinking alcohol isn’t actually beneficial to our health, or that the price of wine has dramatically increased in recent years, we’re not quite sure. As a result, consumers are opting to enjoy higher quality wine in moderation i.e. on special occasions as opposed to drinking bog-standard wine on a very regular basis. It seems that quality wines are consumed this way due to its complex flavours only being detectable if savoured slowly and moderately; it’s supposedly the only way to fully appreciate and enjoy fine wine. With the knowledge that quality wine will be bought more around the holidays, it’s not unusual to see the prices of it increase during this time. The misuse of alcoholic beverages and the health and social dangers that it comes with don’t typically apply to wine. Today’s culture of the popular beverage means it is recognised as being a sophisticated and more formal choice of an alcoholic drink, and of course, the price difference between wine and other drinks such as beer and cider means it is far less affordable to those who abuse alcohol. Some say the price of quality wine remains high so that abusers of alcohol are unable to obtain it and tarnish its reputation as an elegant and upper-class drink...
A cheeseboard is an elegant way to round off a meal. However, the pitfalls of etiquette, selection and presentation have left more than one brave host to sigh and reach instead for the profiteroles. So how do you serve a cheeseboard?
The worst thing to do is undercater. There is no sadder sight than a group of friends, carefully rationing out the brie like some middleclass castaways on some desert island. Go for about 150g of cheese per person. I know this seems excessive compared to some other guides but there are worse problems to have than leftover cheese. We’ve touched on quantity, now for the fun part; buying your cheese! When picking your cheeses, remember - you’re not opening a deli. Pick a few interesting cheeses you think your guests will enjoy. If you know one of your guests is especially partial to goats cheese, it’s a nice gesture to pick them up a wedge. These are the classics. Ones your friend’s boring partner will still enjoy. Cheddar, Red Leicester, Edam - you know the drill. Your spreadable cheeses. Goats cheese if you’re feeling adventurous, Brie as a more conservative offering. Wensleydale isn’t a soft cheese as such but I feel it is well worth a mention. Particularly the cranberry and the apricot offerings. Ah! Mouldy cheese - one of life’s great acquired tastes. Stilton is a classic. Like Cheddar, it’s a cheese where it’s well worth spending the extra money on quality. Other options include Shropshire blue or my own personal favourite, Roquefort. This is your chance to show some flare and creativity. Pick something you haven’t tried before. It’s a great conversation starter and a smashing way to find a new favourite. Try ewe’s cheese or something herby for a bit of excitement.
Take the cheese out the fridge and let it rest on the board for about an hour before serving. This will give the cheese some time to breathe and to let the flavours manifest properly. Cheese straight from the fridge loses a lot of flavour, so do your guests a favour and let it sit for a while. A proper cheese slate is ideal, but failing that, your nicest bread board will do. Make sure you have separate knives for each of the cheeses. Pair the cheeses with fruit, chutneys, and biscuits of complimenting flavours. If you don’t know which biscuits to buy, go for the box that says “biscuits for cheese” on it.
When eating cheese, go from mildest to strongest. Build your way up to the eye wateringly veiny stilton. Talk and share your views on the cheese – it’s part of the fun. Don’t be afraid to pair fruit and savouries with the cheese to discover new flavour combinations. Try some stilton spread on half a grape, or a sliver of cheddar on a piece of apple. Happy cheese eating!
These sweet and zesty dishes will make meal times more interesting; theyâ€™re bright, colourful, and taste like summer. Theyâ€™re also really easy to make.
2 tbsp granulated sugar 3/4 cup crushed digestive biscuits 3 tbsp butter, melted 1 1/2 tbsp water 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice 1 1/2 tsp gelatine powder, unflavoured 340g cream cheese 1 jar lemon curd 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1 cup powdered sugar
In a bowl whisk crushed digestives and sugar. Pour in butter and blend until equally dampened. Divide the mixture and press into an even layer in small mousse cups for serving. Set these aside for later. Next, empty your water and lemon juice into a little bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the top. Set it aside for five minutes. In a medium bowl whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks and then add 1/3 of the powdered sugar â€“ whisk together until stiff. In another large bowl whip the cream cheese until smooth before adding the lemon curd and the rest of the powdered sugar. In a microwave heat the gelatine mixture for about 30 seconds, whisk to dissolve it, and then leave to cool for three minutes. Once cooled slowly add it to the cream cheese mixture while stirring. Then carefully fold in the whipped cream mixture. Pipe the mixture over the top of the biscuit layer before covering and cooling for two hours. You can then garnish as you please and then serve up chilled.
450g cookie dough 1 jar lemon curd Fresh fruit (for toppings)
First preheat your oven to 170Â°C and then grease some small muffin tray pans with a cooking spray or butter. Pull apart your cookie dough and roll into small balls big enough to fill each muffin pan on the tray. Mould the cookie dough to the shape of the muffin pans until you are left with a tart base. Bake the tart bases for approximately 10 minutes or until they start to turn a golden colour. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool before carefully removing the tarts from the tray (a butter knife may help). Pipe the tarts to the top with lemon curd and then garnish with your chosen fresh fruit i.e. raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. Leave them to chill for up to three days.
1 block butter 2 large eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 cup butter milk 1 jar lemon curd 1 tsp salt 3 large egg whites 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat your oven to 200°C. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and butter until fluffy before adding the eggs and vanilla extract and combining. In another bowl, mix together the baking powder, salt, and flour. Gradually pour in the buttermilk until it all combines. Scoop your cupcake batter into cupcake moulds on a baking tray and then bake for approximately 27 minutes or until golden and spongey. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. Cut a 1 inch diameter hole using a small knife in the top of each cupcake and scoop enough out for the curd. Keep the cuttings so you can plug the curd inside. Pipe your curd inside and then fill in the hole with the off cuttings. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites until fluffy before slowly adding the sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk together until stiff peaks form. Using a spoon, top the cupcakes with the meringue and then pop them under the grill for 2 – 4 minutes. Don’t take your eyes off them as meringue can be easily burnt. Cool before serving.
1 cup flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 + 1/2 cup butter 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp egg white 1 tsp vanilla tbsp lemon zest Vanilla frosting
Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and butter until creamy before adding the vanilla and egg whites and combining. Add the lemon juice and continue combining until a thick dough forms. Roll the dough into small balls and then flatten using the palm of your hand – they should be just under 1cm thick. Place them on the baking paper and bake them for approximately 12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Leave them to cool while you make the frosting; mix the lemon juice with the vanilla frosting to create a lemon buttercream. Add buttercream to one cookie and then top with another to create a “cookie sandwich”.
2 cups sugar 2 cups fresh lemon juice 1 3/4 water 1 1/2 grated lemon zest Mint leaves (for garnish)
In a little saucepan combine the water and sugar over medium heat. Boil until the sugar dissolves which should take approximately 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow cooling. Next, stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice before pouring into an ice cream maker and then churn according to the manufacturer instructions. When ice crystals form and the sorbet begins to freeze (it will still seem fairly soft), transfer it to a tub before covering tightly and freezing; the sorbet will solidify. Garnish with mint leaves before serving.
Achieving our ‘summer bod’ would be made much easier if it wasn’t for fussy meal prep and a strict 500 calorie diet. That’s why we’ve designed the ultimate summer diet plan that’s effective and so tasty you’ll want to continue eating like this way into the winter…
Little and often is your diet motto this year, during your first week, you’ll need to create a little jumpstart. Choose a breakfast, a late morning snack, followed by your lunch, and a dinner. Once your first crackdown week is over, feel free to add another snack for late afternoon or later in the evening.
It’s true what they say, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day; it sets you up with the energy and nutrients required to tackle your day to your best potential, and the same goes for dieting. You should aim to keep your breakfasts below the 300 calorie mark. Here are a few ideas…
If you’re looking to tone up for summer, then you’ll want a breakfast that delivers a punch of protein; it’s essentially the building blocks for muscle afterall! Around 200 calories worth of whole-grain cereal combined with a handful of your favourite sliced fruits and/or nuts is a great way to achieve a nutritious, low fat breakfast. Make sure you use either skimmed milk or a dairy free alternative such as soya or almond milk. Natural yogurt comes with a range of fantastic health benefits; it’s rich in protein, calcium, and potassium, and supports a healthy gut and immune system. Not to mention it’s a far healthier alternative to those sugary cereals…
Forget what those diet adverts say; you donâ€™t need to be skipping lunch to achieve your dream body! Again, you should keep lunch to a minimum of 300 calories, and it doesnâ€™t have to be a boring salad either. Here are a few ideas...
Wholemeal bread is far less stodgy and carby than your standard white bread, and turkey meat is a lean protein source perfect for toning up those wobbly winter muscles. Add some fresh salad and light mayonnaise/salad cream to taste.
With less carbs than regular baking potatoes, sweet potatoes can make a light and tasty lunch with the right filling. Baked beans, tuna, and lean chilli are a few examples of nutritious and low fat fillings. Wholemeal soldiers and soft boiled eggs makes a tasty light lunch which will take you back to your childhood. Protein from the egg and carbs from the bread will keep your energy levels topped up, great if you intend on hitting the gym!
Unfortunately, alcohol is calorific and many of us believe that, because itâ€™s not specifically food, it must be okay to enjoy on a diet? Wrong. Drinking alcohol regularly can hinder your progress, if you do want to drink, limit your intake and try to stick to dry wine; sweet wines can have an additional 150 calories per glass!
The key to dinner time is to eat something that won’t sit heavy; you’ll most likely be less active in the evenings, so try not to load up on the carbs. It’s a good time to get some lean meat and greens into your body! Here are a few ideas… The greatest thing about pasta is that it’s filling and oh so versatile; tomato, creamy, or spicy! And there’s so many types! Wholemeal pasta is richer in fibre which promotes healthy digestion, and the carb content is significantly less than that of regular pasta. Throw in some spinach and chicken and you’ll have a tasty, well balanced dinner. Stir fry is rich, tasty, and limited in fat. You can include some lean chicken breast and a rainbow of vegetables to ensure you’re getting a nutritionally balanced meal. You’ll get bonus points if you use brown rice, too!
The options with the dish are endless. Whether it be chicken breast, lean steak, or a salmon fillet, combine those with a portion of your favourite veg, some baby potatoes and you’ll have yourself a low fat, tasty and satisfying meal.
Versatile, tasty, and packed full of protein and other great nutrients. And not to mention super easy to prepare.
Who said snacking was bad for dieting? You can still indulge in a few snacks and achieve your body goals in time for summer! Not all snacks are bad snacks, stick to these and you’ll have no problems at all…
You used to have a tantrum if your mum told you to have some fruit, but fruit doesn’t have to be dull! Prepare yourself a juicy fruit salad to enjoy over the course of a few days, or even blitz up a nutritious fruit smoothie to keep things interesting.
If you didn’t have it for breakfast, or you just really love yogurt, you can treat yourself to a pot during your snack times. Just make sure it’s low fat…
If you’re a fan of a little salty savoury snack, then you can get away with a small packet of baked crisps. They don’t contain nearly as much fat and oil as their fried counterparts.
Start the day as you mean to go on! A positive healthy beginning to your day means you’ll be more inclined to remain healthy and motivated for the duration of it. Plus, you’ll burn more calories in the morning!
Who said snacking was bad for dieting? You can still indulge in a few snacks and achieve your body goals in time for summer! Not all snacks are bad, stick to these and you’ll have no problems at all…
Some of us like to indulge in something a little sweeter, but sweets and chocolate biscuits are unfortunately off the menu. A sachet of low calorie hot chocolate (without the cream, of course) could fix that sweet tooth of yours.
Yes, really! 2 crispbreads with low-fat soft cheese makes a satisfying snack below 100 calories!
Whilst natural sugars are present in dried fruits, combined with a handful of nuts makes a great pre-workout snack.
Aim to drink around 2 litres of water every day; being well hydrated promotes a faster metabolism and helps the body to function its best ability. Don’t underestimate the power of water when it comes to weight loss and muscle growth.
Youâ€™re most likely under the impression that juice from concentrate is worse for you than juice that is not. But in reality, as long as no additional sugars and preservatives are added, there really isnâ€™t any difference!
Both types of juices go through a similar pasteurizing process which involves removing potentially harmful pathogens that could have been in the fruit. The squash is heated quickly to kill off pathogens. “From concentrate” juice is juiced directly from the fruit before being filtered to extract the water through a processor - this saves space when it’s being transported. Before it is packaged up and sold to the public, water is added again and then pasteurized. Whereas “not from concentrate” juice is produced by juicing the fruit before simply pasteurizing it.
Unless additional sugars and sweeteners are added, you may be surprised to hear that juice “from concentrate” and juice “not from concentrate” have the same nutritional value. Calorie content is the same, and the process has no impact on the nutrient density either. So when you see companies claiming and promoting the fact their squash is never from concentrate, it generally doesn’t make any difference!
It has been pointed out by The Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics that different brands of squash from concentrate occasionally add different ingredients during the processing stage. Some brands from concentrate add additional vitamin C to their squashes while another brand may add extra sugars which would result in a higher calorie content, and is much less healthy.
So it turns out that “not from concentrate” isn’t necessarily healthier than “from concentrate”. However, when choosing juice products, it’s important to read nutrition labels to identify any added sugars and sweeteners especially if you’re aiming to stick to the healthier option. Added sugars may be labelled as “corn syrup”, “dextrose”, and “high fructose corn syrup”.
To some people, getting your five a day might seem like a real chore. Many people make up excuses as to why they can’t reach the recommended number; such as money troubles, time, and forgetfulness. Other people simply aren’t even sure if they’re getting their five a day!
It really isnâ€™t as difficult as one might think, turns out, a lot of more counts as part of your five a day than you may have originally thought...
will always count as one portion of your five a day. One portion is approximately 80g, and when eating canned fruit or vegetables, we should avoid added salts and sugars. also counts as a portion of your five a day, but you only need 30g as opposed to 80g! However the sugars are more present and therefore it is recommended that we eat them as part of a meal and not as a snack in between due to their encouragement of tooth decay.
Fruits and vegetables that are found in other dishes such as stews, pastas, and even soups. Fruit and vegetables found in readymade meals including shop purchased sauces and puddings. Be careful with these; whilst portions of your five a day might be available within the meal, convenience meals often contain high levels of salt, fat, and sugar and should only be eaten occasionally in small amounts.
Unfortunately, fruit juice does not count as one of our five a day. Whilst smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit juice might seem healthy, itâ€™s actually packed full of sugars; even the unsweetened ones! When fruits are crushed and blended, the sugars in the fruit are released, and these sugars are extremely damaging to our teeth. The recommended serving of fruit juice is 150ml a day which is one serving. And the NHS recommends diluting fruit juice with water to make it go further and cause less damage on our teeth.
We have some bad news, potatoes donâ€™t actually count as one of your five a day. Whilst they are a great source of energy and provide us with B vitamins and potassium, they are a starchy food used in meals in place of other starch sources such as pasta, bread, or rice. This means they canâ€™t be considered as one of our precious five a day. This includes sweet potatoes, swedes, parsnips, and turnips as they are also starchy foods. Other vegetables that do not count as part of your five a day are plantain, cassava, and yams. Whilst none of these delicious foods count, they still provide us with important nutrients and should be cooked/eaten without salt and oil. And keeping the skins on potatoes provide us with more fibre which promotes a healthy digestive system.
Ice cream is the holy grail of desserts. Itâ€™s versatile, delicious, and easy to make! Here are four homemade ice cream recipes you just have to try...
Thatâ€™s right - only four ingredients are needed to make this delicious icy treat.
125ml cold milk 400g sweetened condensed milk 1 tbsp vanilla essence 475ml double cream
In a bowl, stir together the vanilla, condensed milk, and cold milk and then set aside. In another bowl, beat the double cream preferably with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Then fold in the milk mixture. Pour into a dish before covering and freezing for at least 4 hours; be sure to stir once after half that time has passed. Serve straight away or keep it in an airtight container for a rainy day! Or should we say sunny day?
Who doesnâ€™t love an ice cream with lumpy, crunchy, gooey bits? Rocky Road ice cream is a classic and itâ€™s far easier to make than you think.
400g sweetened condensed milk 50g cocoa powder 475ml double cream 225ml single cream 1 tbsp vanilla essence 50g chopped marshmallows 50g chopped pecans
In a saucepan on low heat, slowly cook and stir the cocoa and condensed milk for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and allow cooling before stirring in the single cream, double cream, and vanilla. Pop it in the fridge until cold. Pour your mixture into an ice cream container and freeze for four hours. At two hours, stir the marshmallows and pecans into the mixture.
Is it an ice cream or a sorbet? Weâ€™ll let you decide that one for yourselves but theyâ€™re practically the same.
1 large lemon, zested and juiced 250ml cold milk 200g caster sugar 250ml double cream
Combine your zest and the sugar using a food processor, if you donâ€™t have one of those, a blender will work just as well. In a bowl, stir together the milk and zest mixture until the sugar dissolves before adding the lemon juice. In another bowl, whip your double cream until stiff peaks form and then gently fold in the lemon mixture. Pour the mixture into a ice cream contain and freeze for approximately 3 hours or until stiff.
Woah! Peanut butter ice cream is really a thing! And itâ€™s not too complicated to make.
4 tbsp caster sugar 250ml full fat milk 3 medium eggs 200g peanut butter 175ml sweetened condensed milk 125ml single cream
In a bowl, combine the sugar and eggs using an electric mixer and set it aside. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer on low heat before gradually adding the hot mill to the egg mixture whilst whisking. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and simmer over a low heat whilst stirring constantly until thick. Take it off the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, and then the condensed milk, vanilla, and single cream. Then pop in into the fridge to cool. Pour into an ice cream container and freeze for at least 4 hours.
150g red lentils 1 cauliflower 2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 lemon, juiced 3 tbsp curry paste 1 tbsp oil
Remove the outer leaves, remove the stalk, and roughly chop your cauliflower into small florets before tossing 1/4 of it with 1 tsp fennel seeds and 1 tbsp oil. Make sure you season well, and then leave in a roasting tin for later. Next, heat your oven to 200C fan/gas 7 and heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rest of the fennel seeds and toast them for approximately 2 minutes before adding your lentils and remaining cauliflower. Add your chosen curry paste followed by 1 litre water and gradually bring to the boil. Simmer until the lentils are cooked through and the cauliflower is tender (around 25 minutes). While it simmers, pop the tray of roasting cauliflower into the oven for about 20 minutes until itâ€™s crispy. Meanwhile, pour the soup mixture into a food processor (or blender) and blend until it is smooth with very few lumps. Afterwards, pour back into the saucepan and heat it up. Add some water if itâ€™s a little too thick and add then add the lemon juice. Serve in soup bowls and top with the roasted cauliflower and toasted fennel seeds to serve.
200g mushrooms, chopped 1 large can chickpeas 2 tsp rapeseed oil 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 large garlic clove
2 red onions, sliced 2 tsp tahini 115g wholemeal penne pasta 1/4 tsp coriander handful chopped parsley
To make the houmous, in a bowl, add the chickpeas and their liquid along with the garlic, lemon juice, coriander, and tahini. Using a hand blender, blitz it all together until it becomes a wet paste with a little texture from the chickpeas. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions. In a large non-stick wok, heat the oil and add the mushrooms and onions remembering to stir frequently until they begin to caramelise. Drain your pasta and tip it in with the mushrooms and onions before removing it from the heat to stir in the parsley and houmous. Squeeze over the lemon juice and toss lightly before serving.
400ml coconut milk, canned 150g plain flour 2 banana, thinly sliced
3 tbsp gold caster sugar vegetable oil, for frying 2 sp baking powder
Sift the baking powder and flour into a large bowl before stirring in 2 tbsp of the gold caster sugar and a little pinch of salt. Next pour the coconut milk into a separate bowl and whisk in any separated fat. Measure out 300ml of the milk and then slowly add it to the flour mixture and whisk until you are left with a smooth batter. In a shallow frying pan, heat some oil and use approximately 2 tbsp of batter for each pancake you make. Donâ€™t fry more than two at a time. As the pancakes cook, push a couple of banana slices into them. Once bubbles begin forming and popping and the edges look dry, flip the pancakes over and cook for one minute. Coconut milk pancakes are fragile, so flip them with care! Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat the remaining sugar and coconut milk with a pinch of salt. Simmer the mixture until it begins to thicken into the consistency of single cream. You can use this as a sauce for your pancakes!
350g butternut squash, ( chopped) 350g linguine
3 peeled garlic cloves 3tbsp olive oil Handful sage
Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. On a baking tray spread out your chopped butternut squash with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast until soft (about 35 â€“ 40 minutes). Meanwhile, cook your linguine according to pack instructions. When you drain it, reserve some of the water (about 400ml). Using a blender, blitz together the reserved pasta water and the roasted squash. In a small frying pan, heat some oil and fry the sage until crispy before draining it on kitchen paper. Tip the sauce and pasta into the pan and heat through. Sprinkle the sage on top.
140g golden caster sugar 240g self-raising flour 40g egg-free mayonnaise 1 tsp bicarbonate soda 2 large ripe bananas, mashed 1 tsp vanilla extract
Icing 2 tbsp peanut butter, smooth 25ml almond milk 250g icing sugar 80g vegan margarine
Heat your oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 31/2. Line 16 muffin tins with cases. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, and 1/2 salt. In a separate bowl or jug, mix the mashed bananas, mayonnaise, and vanilla extract before pouring into the dry ingredients and mixing until it all comes together. Spoon the mixture into your muffin cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden and browning around the edges. Retrieve them from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature. To make the icing, combine the icing sugar and margarine in an electric mixer while carefully adding the milk. Mix until entirely combined. Next, stir in the peanut butter before piping the mixture on top of your cakes.
Contrary to popular belief that cucumber is a vegetable you enjoy in your salad, itâ€™s actually a fruit! And when eaten regularly, it provides us with excellent nutrition and health benefits...
Water plays a vital part in the functioning of our bodies, which is no surprise considering water makes up 60% of it. It regulates body temperature and also plays a part in transporting waste products. Cucumbers are more than 96% water, and considering around 40% of our fluid comes from food, they are particularly great at promoting hydration.
Cucumber is naturally low in calories; a standard serving of around 100 grams contains only 16 calories! That means you can eat lots of it without piling on the pounds. The high water content also assists weight loss as it is common knowledge that being well hydrated speeds up your metabolism.
Thatâ€™s right, including cucumber in your diet could support regular and healthier bowl movements! Dehydration is the main cause of constipation, so eating cucumber which has a high water content, can maintain regularity and better stool consistency - nice! Itâ€™s not just the water; cucumber also contains fibre which is effective in regulating bowl movements!
Antioxidants essentially block oxidation; a reaction in the body which creates atoms that are highly reactive with unpaired electrons called free radicals. The build up of free radicals can result in a number of chronic and severe illnesses. Cucumber contains antioxidants which prevent this from happening and reduces the risk of certain diseases such as cancer. Thereâ€™s never been a better reason to eat your greens!
Despite being low in calories, cucumber is rich in a variety of beneficial nutrients including vitamin K and C, Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese. These are all nutrients that many people following a standard diet often lack! To reap the full nutritional benefits from cucumber, it should be eaten unpeeled; peeling the cucumber could reduce the fibre and some of the minerals and vitamins.
Fresh with a distinctive flavour, cucumbers are enjoyed by everyone in sandwiches, salads, or as pickles. They can be turned into crisps, paired with hummus, or infused in water! The point is, itâ€™s incredibly easy to include in your diet and it can be enjoyed in a variety of different and unique ways.
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Exclusive interview with Channel 4's First Dates restaurant manager Fred Sirieix, cooking tips from Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc, mou...
Published on Apr 13, 2018
Exclusive interview with Channel 4's First Dates restaurant manager Fred Sirieix, cooking tips from Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc, mou...