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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A divinely delicious & healthy recreation of West Coast salmon rice bowls in North London…

One of my lasting memories of San Francisco – apart from the glorious weather, friendly people & stunning locale – is the amazing food. Whatever you look for, I guarantee you will find and it won’t surprise anyone who’s been there to hear you praise to the high heavens the generous breakfasts, fresh produce or the Michelin hotspots; as cities for foodies go, San Francisco is up there with the best.

Rice bowls have been around on the culinary scene and growing in popularity for some time now but it wasn’t until our Pacific Catch experience that we got to experience them for the first time. Steeped for the most part in and around Asian cuisine, they’re the perfect dinner for so many reasons – they’re simple to prepare & require no hard-to-say-and-even-harder-to-find ingredients that cost the earth; they can be made just as easily for one person as for 4, 6 or 10; there are no hard and fast rules about what goes in them so even the pickiest of eaters among your clan can be appeased including vegetarians, vegans or meat lovers…see? Nothing not to like, love and adore and if you’re fed up of dull, uninspiring salads that leave you hungry again before the last forkful is forced down and you’re after a healthy option that will leave you full and happy, let’s get on with introducing the rice bowl to your cooking repertoire…

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Avo-walnut-spinach pesto with wholewheat spaghetti…

I am not ashamed to say that I am addicted to avocados. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked with me, lived with me or eaten with me. They are so perfect with their creamy silky interior and their rich velvety smooth texture and they’re good for you! I mean, come on, if that’s not proof of a higher force having a bloody great day of creation, I don’t know what is.

Please. Just look at them. Even you avo haters of whom I am highly suspicious and some of whom reside within my closest circle of friends…you so know who you are.

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Anyway moment over. Point of the post? How to incorporate one of my desert island foods into yet another dinner with a little creativity from what’s in the cupboard and so I present avocado, walnut spinach pesto served with wholewheat spaghetti and parmesan…

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