The speedy supper goes Italian with a classic Pesto alla Trapanese…

Late last year I was fortunate enough to attend a cooking demonstration by the rather lovely chef & food writer Rachel Roddy at the brilliant Divertimenti Cooking School on Brompton Road in London.

Among several evocative dishes cooked by Rachel, all of which transported me to sunnier Italian climes, one stood out as being an arguably perfect plate of pasta. So delicious was it that it’s been recreated in my own Islington-rather-than-Italy kitchen with great success – I feel it’s ok to modestly give it that label since bowls were left empty at the end of dinner so no further evidence needed, si? Grazi. Read More

Step into the wonderful world of wholegrains with a chicken, chickpea & bulgar wheat one pot wonder…

It’s interesting how much our tastes and eating habits change as we grow up. When we’re young, we eat what we’re given by parents, family & friends. We learn to love and loathe certain ingredients. We embrace or become wary of different cuisines by the reactions we see around us. We’re defined by the contents of our lunchboxes in the playground and our first-flat-fridges when friends come round for dinner.

My beloved mum who never met a vegetable she didn’t want to start a meaningful relationship with and who placed great importance during my and my sister’s childhoods on eating well balanced meals around a table together was also famous among my friends for always having a tin of mini chocolate bars in our cupboard and this approach of ‘everything in moderation’ is as deeply embedded in me from her as my love for Rhett Butler & strawberry milk.

Something that I’ve recently tried, subsequently loved and which I’m sure my pre-teen self might have wrinkled her nose at are wholegrains. I know, I know, you get that I like them because I talk about them a bit.

Okay a lot.

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Alright, all the time but I can’t help it – there are so many benefits to these tiny nuggets of loveliness that I become impassioned on their behalf whenever they come up in conversation. Like Frodo Baggins or Oliver Twist, wholegrains might appear on the surface to be the quiet, unassuming underdog but overlook them at your peril because like our pointy-eared hobbit or Cockney, jazz handed orphan, there’s much more to them than meets the eye.

Simple, healthy & filling? Check.

An average cup packing a whopping 33% dietary fibre? Check.

Helping to reduce the risk of strokes, diabetes & heart disease? Check.

Wholegrains add bulk to a quick dinner meaning you feel full on less calorie intake, make the perfect next-day-leftovers lunch and greedily absorb whatever flavours you want to drizzle or drench them with and this one pot recipe is an excellent example of this.

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