London supermarkets have become ready-to-go food outlets rather than a place to source ingredients.
Michael Pollan has just put out a new book called “Cooked, a natural history of transformation”. I love the catchphrase on the cover as it sums up craziness of the food world we live in. ” In a culture of food reality shows, in countries which are crammed with fresh ingredients from every corner of the earth, we none the less wade even deeper into a swamp of processed foods. The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook”
Ring true? Cooking has become a spectator sport that encourages eating rather than the honing of our personal food skills. We cook less but eat more as a myriad of tantalising
foods tempt us at every turn. Supermarkets, particularly in the UK and USA have moved away from selling ingredients and instead have become giant take away stores. Ingredients are relatively expensive and hard to find while attractive and conveniently presented ready to go options dominate the food aisles. With competitive pricing it is no wonder people flop on the couch with a ready to go meal rather than having to spend valuable TV time in the kitchen preparing and cooking food! Continue reading
With more than a third of London’s 11 year olds overweight the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is launching a £600,000 project called ‘Healthy Schools London’. This will recognise schools that are tackling obesity; it will give them monetary rewards if they provide healthy lunches and encourage children to exercise. I wish some of our New Zealand politicians would do the same; first however they need to recognise and acknowledge we have a problem, something they seem incredibly loathe to do!!! Continue reading
I am sorry that recipes and comments have been thin on the ground this year – am on extended leave at the moment in Europe and recipe development has not been easy. I will be back on home turf early July so promise to be more diligent then. In the meantime I hope you like this delicious take on a recipe I found while in London (by Charlie Trotter).
Apricot curry chicken with quinoa
Time to make: 30 minutes Continue reading
Congratulations to the British Government and in particular Michael Gove for their ambitious plan to ensure British children know how to cook healthy food. With the aim “to ensure every 14 year old has the ability to cook 20 savoury healthy recipes and to understand the origins and nutritional benefits of food”, from September next year all pupils between the ages of seven and 14 are to be taught cookery as part of the new national curriculum. A report compiled by the restaurateurs Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent of the Leon chain has made cooking lessons a chief recommendation, and it is understood the Government is in agreement. A second directive that will make it compulsory to eat lunches cooked in school aims to introduce a culture of fresh cooked meals to all children, ending the bringing of packed lunches – of varying nutritional quality – into school.
They have identified twenty recipes and techniques every child should learn
Cottage pie – uses up leftovers, comforts like lambswool
Dal – spiced pulses, incredibly cheap and phenomenally healthy
Tomato sauce – versatile, can be used in at least 10 other dishes
Paella – beautiful, energising and aromatic
Omelette – quite simply essential
Chicken stock – made from roast leftovers; boosts flavour without salt
Pasta and bean soup – rib sticking yet oddly elegant
Cornish pasties – easier-than-you-think portable goodness
Pancakes – a novice chef’s first challenge; always delectable
Mussels “marinières” – sustainably farmed seafood, economical and easy
French mustard vinaigrette – eye-watering, transforming
Beef stew – wine-rich and with a strip of orange rind (and dumplings)
Vegetable gratin – heart-warming use of béchamel and melted cheese
Fish pie – rich, popular party food
Bread – a life-long lasting lesson in fermentation
Grilled fish with hollandaise – challenging and ultimately impressive
Mayonnaise – merits the elbow grease and universally versatile
Curry – any one is a masterclass in balancing diverse flavour
Mashed potato – whipped with butter, velvety smooth
Lancashire hot pot – the easiest stew of all, beloved
Although my list would be slightly different – would include stir fry, risotto and macaroni cheese rather than mussels marinieres or hollandaise sauce, I applaud this project and only wish we could get our government to demonstrate the same concern for the health of New Zealand children!
This can be made as a jelly or as a jelly / creamy layered dish. Either way it is delicious, light and summery!
Time to make 6 hours (includes cooling and setting time)
A study just published in the British Medical Journal compared recipes from Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver to ready-to-go meals from British supermarkets. You will probably guess what came up trumps. As Niki Bezzant, editor of the Healthy Food Guide pointed out when interviewed about this, it would be surprising if anyone was surprised by these results! Continue reading
How to survive the silly season without looking like an overstuffed turkey at the end!
As Christmas looms once again, the challenge is how to treat yourself and have fun without gaining weight. With a little planning however, you can survive the silly season and be fit, healthy and relaxed when it is all over. Continue reading
Team up with some crusty bread for a great summer holiday lunch.
Time to make 20 minutes
Ginger and Almond biscotti
Great for Christmas and times when you feel like something sweet. Since they are cut so thinly and have no added fat, they hit the spot without bumping up the kilojoules. Wrap in cellophane for a delicious Christmas gift!
Makes around 36
Time to make around 1 1/2 hours Continue reading
Beetroot and mint dip
With a can of baby beets in the pantry, this dip can be so easily whipped up . Perfect with Christmas drinks!
Makes around 1 cup
Time to make 5 minutes Continue reading