,

Nisha Katona Urges You to Support Your Local High Street with Meat-free Mondays

street

Wandering around the many areas of Merseyside, one is struck by the shuttered shops that now form the toothless grin of many a high street in recession. Many of those gaps, I have noticed, are being filled with the shiny frontage of “metro” supermarkets.  As a consumer it is easy to feel instant relief at this. Convenient, open late, and an indication that things are improving in the economy perhaps? However, the march of the supermarkets seems to hide a dark problem.

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend the day with a farmer friend. Young, enthusiastic and the organiser of the Wirral Food Festival, his optimism was important in the face of the challenges faced by local growers. He explained how important the festival was in showcasing the best of local food producers as they may well be a dying breed.  I was very interested to know how we could stop this from happening. We the consumers, it seems, hold the key. Choose your local shops over the supermarkets as much as you can.

It seems the supermarkets are ruthless in negotiation, often making verbal agreements for huge orders only to reject the produce if is not “body beautiful” or for any other minor reason. Farmers are also forced to grow more than they can expect to supply as there are hefty penalties (financial and the lack of repeat business) incurred if they come up short.  This results in huge wastage and massive loads of unwanted produce being “dumped” on the market, demolishing the value of British meat and veg altogether. I was so surprised to hear that the wonderful “buy one get one free” offers are paid for by the farmers, not the supermarket. If supermarkets are selling to us for a discount, they are forcing the farmers to sell to them for that discount. No skin off the nose of the supermarkets and totally devastating to the farmers who are over a barrel. Similarly with the producers of British meat. We as consumers are demanding huge amounts of cheap meat.  We would rather travel to a supermarket and pay a few pounds less for meat and veg than pay that bit extra and buy from our local butcher or farm shop.

pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bThere is a huge price to pay for this, consumers:  the death of local business!  We have a choice how we spend our money. In saving a couple of pounds this is what we lose as a nation. We lose the very heart and lungs of our high streets, our butchers, green grocers and fishmongers. By insisting on perfectly formed vegetables, we encourage supermarkets to tyrannically reject perfectly delicious British produce. As a cook and food writer, I know full well that the best flavours lie deep in the matured, the gnarled and the knobbly.

Think about our favourite holiday destinations – what we love about them are the local artisan bakers, the shop windows full of cheeses and hams, the beautiful bright chaos of the fruit and veg stalls, and local produce in local restaurants.  Well, here’s the thing, we can have all of those things here in our very own highstreet if we just keep supporting our local shops.

My challenge to you is this: to go meat free one day a week. Have better quality meat from your local butcher less often. This small sacrifice will save your local producers, your high street, and your health.

I know that asking an Englishman to give up meat is like asking him to remove a limb, but it’s just one day. Just think – by doing this and spending what you save at your local butchers and greengrocers, you are saving the charming food markets, the wonderful produce, and the bustling high streets that make up the very heart of England.

Meat Free Monday Spiced Fritters

Cup full of Gram Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
salt
lemon juice
2 heaped teaspoons of curry powder or garamasala
garlic puree
Vegetable chunks-any trimmings

Mix all the ingredients except the veg with enough water to give you a thick pancake mix consistency.  Chop all your left over veg trimmings, dunk them in the batter and plunge fry.  Great way to turn your left overs into crisp spiced nuggets.

 

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona

Pimp My Rice

Available 15th October 2015

Preorder from Amazon now.

The Seasonal Kitchen / Cucumbers

cucumber

Made up almost entirely of water, the juicy, refreshing cucumber comes in many shapes and sizes, from tiny, knobbly specimens to long, plump, smooth-skinned ones – and, although they are subtle, there are distinct shifts of flavour between the different varieties.
Cucumbers are used the world over, especially in salads and relishes, their mild flavour often being used to carrystronger flavourings or to provide a calming accompaniment to fiercer seasonings, such as chillies and spices. They are frequently paired with yoghurt, soured cream and cheese – a tradition that spreads from the eastern Mediterranean right through the Middle East and into India. Chopped cucumber is a central ingredient of raita, a cooling, minty yoghurt relish for serving alongside spicy curries, while in Greece it is stirred with yoghurt and mint to make the dip tzatziki, and the similar cacik in Turkey and other parts of the Middle East. It is also popular pickled or marinated with herbs, vinegar and spices – a tradition particularly associated with central and eastern Europe.
When buying, look for firm cucumbers. Although the skin is edible, it can easily be removed using a vegetable peeler, if desired. You can also quickly remove the seeds by halving the cucumber lengthways and scooping them out with a teaspoon. The flesh may then be sliced, diced, grated or cut into batons, ready to add to any dish you choose.

Tzatziki

summer recipe

Method:

  • Peel, seed and grate 1 small or 1⁄2 a large cucumber into a strainer and press out as much liquid as possible.
  • Tip the remaining flesh into a bowl and combine with 240ml/8fl oz/scant 1 cup of Greek yoghurt, 1 crushed clove garlic and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint.
  • Stir in salt to taste, then chill in the fridge until
    ready to serve.

index

Susannah Blake
Seasonal Food
Available from Nourish Books

 

 

Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.

Gluten-Free Recipes for an Indian Supper

If you want to try something new this week, get inspired by Nisha Katona’s indian dishes: two delicious gluten free vegetarian recipes that you can easily prepare using any combination of vegetables.

by Nisha Katona

Vegetable Bhajis (or Vegetable “Offcut” Bhajis)
These golden nuggets of nutty spiced sweet warmth are a great way of using up the bits of vegetables that don’t make the beauty contest grade. My mother’s favourite participants are the stalks of broccoli and cauliflower and the leaves from the top of beetroot and radish. The truth is that soft, limp, fridge weary vegetables perks up to crisp and flavourful when prepared this way. These bhajis can be made in advance and simply reheated and crisped up in the oven. They also freeze brilliantly.  The added advantage is they are completely gluten free and technically vegan! How healthy is that!

broccoli bhaji

Vegetable Bhajis

Ingredients: 1 Cup of Gram Flour; 1/4 teaspoon on baking powder; 2 heaped teaspoons garamasala; 1 teaspoon; ground coriander; water ; vegetable or groundnut oil; salt to taste; coriander leaf; 1 chopped green chili or a touch of chili powder; shards of vegetable roughly cut into any size.

Method:

  • Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl except for the vegetables. Add enough water to make a mixture of the consistency of thick pancake batter. The mixture should be just thick enough NOT to drop too quickly off the spoon.
  • Add in your chopped vegetables, chopped coriander leaf and chili.
  • Heat the oil and drop spoonfuls of the mixture in to deep fry. When they are evenly golden, they are done.

You can find the video lesson of this recipe on Nisha Katona’s website.

Gluten- Free Tangy Cumin Vegetable Curry
This is a staple dish in many Indian households, where no part of the vegetable is wasted. Stalks, leaves, seed pods are all valued and treated as main ingredients. In a hot and arid subcontinent, vegetables are not picture perfect and the citrus perfumed cumin can transform the humblest vegetable. A very common method for producing ‘tang’ in curry is adding dilute English mustard paste to a dish. The heady dramatic flavours in this curry turn tired wilted vegetables into a centrepiece dish.

Ingredients: Assorted vegetables cut into 1 inch chunks; 1 tbsp vegetable or ground nut oil; 1 teaspoon cumin seeds; 1/2 teaspoon turmeric ; 1/4 teaspoon chili powder; 1/2 tin chopped tomato; 1 heaped dessert spoon of English mustard paste watered down into 1/4 of a cup; salt; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; 1/4 cup of cashew nuts (optional); chopped coriander leaf to garnish

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they finish frying, add the vegetable chunks, prioritizing  the tougher vegetables.
  • Once they begin to soften, add the turmeric,chili, salt and sugar.
  • After about 5 minutes add the tomato and simmer the dish until the hardest vegetable is cooked to your taste.  If you wish to add cashew nuts, do so now.
  • Add the mustard paste and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander, if you have it.

This can be served as a main course with rice/chapattis/wraps or as a side dish with any meal.

You can find the video lesson of this recipe on Nisha Katona’s website.

About the Author: Nisha Katona is a food writer, Indian Cookery teacher and founder of Mowgli pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bStreet food. She has series of Youtube video tutorials that have a worldwide following. She has over  22000 twitter followers for her daily recipes and live Curry Clinics. She has recently worked on a filming project with Food Network. Professionally Nisha has worked as a Barrister for over 20 years in the area of Child Protection. In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her as trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009, the Cabinet Office appointed her as an Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments, and in this capacity has been engaged as an expert advisor by The Guardian newspaper.

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

Nisha Katona
Pimp my Rice
Available from Nourish Books from October 2015
Pre-order on Amazon.

 

Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.

 

Top Tips to Go Flexi

by Nicola Graimes

HH Part Time Veg day 2 Steamed sesame tofu in ginger 214

Steamed Sesame Tofu in Ginger

It has been named as one of the top food trends of the moment… it is called ‘flexitarianism’ – vegetarians who occasionally eat meat or fish and meat-eaters who regularly include plant-based meals into their diet.

I have picked up on this burgeoning trend with my new book Part-time Vegetarian, due to be published in late September. The cookbook includes over 100 vegetarian recipes, many of which can be adapted to include meat, seafood or poultry, if so liked.

If you’re keen to reduce the amount of meat you eat or you are looking for delicious adaptable meals, the Part-time Vegetarian shows how easy and tasty it can be.

Here are some simple tips to get you started:

  • A good starting point is to change the ratio of animal protein to veggies on your plate. This means having a smaller piece of meat or fish on your plate than perhaps you would normally have and upping the quantity of vegetables and look to include vegetarian protein foods, such as nuts, cheese, pulses, eggs or tofu.
  • If you’re new to vegetarian cooking or find it all a bit daunting, it’s time to think out of the box. Don’t feel restricted by meals that are made up of meat, potatoes and vegetables – there is a wealth of exciting vegetarian meals out there waiting to be tried. Check out new recipes to make it less daunting.
  • Risotto, paella, pies, tarts, winter and summer salads, soups, stews and bakes don’t have to include meat or fish. Try to include a meat-free main meal at least three times a week – but the choice is yours.
  • It’s a good idea to plan ahead what you’re going to eat over the forthcoming week. In that way, you can ensure you are eating a good balance of varied meals and it makes food shopping that much easier. There are some meal plan ideas at the back of my book to help.
  • Stock up on store cupboard essentials so that you always have a good store of veggie ingredients to hand such a tinned beans, lentils, tinned toms, nuts, seeds, grains, noodles and pasta.
  • Try to be aware of seasonality and local fresh fruit and veg suppliers. Markets, pick-your-own and veg box schemes can all be good value and will open your eyes to new varieties of fresh stuff perhaps not tried before.
  • Eat up your veg – make a conscious effort to try a previously untried type of veg each week – Asian grocers are great places for finding new varieties.
  • The beauty of a flexitarian, or part-time vegetarian diet, is there are no hard and fast rules so it can be as flexible or varied as you like. That means you don’t have to feel pressure to stick to any dietary guidelines, which allows you to take things at your own pace.
  • Flexitarianism is a lifestyle choice, rather than a ‘diet’ so have fun – no guilt allowed!

1106_original-300x390

Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015
Pre-order the book on Amazon

 

 

Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.

 

Black Rice, Peanut, Tofu and Mango Salad Makes a Perfect Dish to Share

If you are planning a picnic with your family or friends and looking for the perfect dish, this delicious and refreshing salad makes the perfect dish to share.

Black rice, peanut, tofu and mango salad

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

HH Part time Veg Day 5 Black Rice Tofu Mango Salad087


Ingredients: 175g/6oz/heaped ¾ cup black rice, rinsed; 55g/2oz/heaped ¹⁄³ cup unsalted peanuts; coconut oil, or cold-pressed rapeseed/ canola oil, for frying; 400g/14oz block of tofu, drained well on paper towels and cubed; 1 small red onion, diced; 3 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced diagonally; 1 large red chilli, deseeded and thinly

sliced; 85g/3oz/scant 1 cup mangetout/snow peas, thinly sliced diagonally; ½ cucumber, quartered, deseeded
and diced; 1 large handful of chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves; 1 handful of chopped mint leaves; 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and flesh cubed

The contrast of black rice, orange mango, green herbs and red chilli makes a visually stunning dish, but the variation in textures – crisp, crunchy and soft – as well as flavours – hot, sweet and sour – also add to the overall appeal of this Asian salad. If you can’t find black rice, you could use brown basmati, Camargue red rice or perhaps bulgur wheat instead – ideally you want a grain that holds its shaped when cooked.

Method:

  • Put the rice in a saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 25–30 minutes until tender. Drain and tip the rice into a large serving bowl.
  • Meanwhile, toast the peanuts in a large dry frying pan for 5 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally until they start to colour and smell toasted. Tip onto a plate and leave to cool, then chop roughly.
  • Heat enough oil to generously cover the base of a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the tofu in three batches for 5 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp, adding more oil when needed. Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the red onion, spring onions/scallions, half the chilli, the mangetout/snow peas, cucumber, half the herbs and three-quarters of the mango to the cooked rice. Pour the dressing over, then turn gently until everything is combined.
  • Spoon the dressed black rice salad onto four serving plates and top with the crisp tofu, the remaining mango, herbs and finally the peanuts.

Part-Time Variation
For an alternative to the tofu, mix together 2 tsp Thai seven-spice with 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed/canola oil or melted coconut oil in a large shallow dish, then season with salt and pepper. Slice 400g/14oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts into strips and add to the dish. Turn the chicken in the marinade and leave to marinate for 30 minutes, if time allows.
Heat a large wok over a medium-high heat and tip in the chicken and its marinade. Stir-fry for 5–7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden. Serve the chicken in place of the tofu.

1106_original-300x390

Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015
Pre-order the book on Amazon

 

 

 

 

Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.

,

Happy Hemp is our Blog of the Month

h3

Happy Hemp is a hemp seed company founded by Tara Miko.
Tara’s life brought her from fashion in LA to hemp in Austin. A fantastic journey towards a radical change, that started when she got sick, economy hit and she lost her job and healthy insurance. Listening to her body and starting to make her research on healthy food, she discovered the benefits of hemp seeds, which proved to be a surprising superfood and also Tara’s life-changing habit. Visit her website Happy Hemp and see more on her Facebook page.
We had a chat with Tara and we selected Happy Hemp as our blog of the month.

Can you tell our readers about yourself and Happy Hemp?
I went from fashion in LA to hemp in Austin. After a decade in fashion, the travel and long hours were starting to catch up. I began having issues with my digestions. Knowing that food is medicine, I started looking into what I was putting into my body and educating myself about what foods could help with digestion. Hemp is great for digestion… who knew? I was intrigued and started researching this fascinating super seed. Happy Hemp was born out of a complete life change. Job, diet, city… I was in need of change and hemp was the catalyst to get me there.

What inspired you to start Happy Hemp?
I was shocked that one of the most nutritious food sources on earth, was also one of the most unknown sources of food. It started small. Sharing and telling friends and family at first and eventually I realized I was on to something!

What are the main benefits of adding hemp seeds to your daily diet?
Hemp has more protein than meat, fish, tofu or chicken, the perfect ration of omegas, essential fatty acids and minerals and vitamins. It IS the perfect food! Plus it is vegan, raw, a complete protein source, gluten free, dairy free and soy free… Win Win!!

Happy Hemp has a distinctive style. Does this come from your past experience in the fashion industry?
Yes. I wanted to give hemp a much needed green lift. My goal is to be the gourmet hemp seed company. I show how you can make pesto or bake a beautiful nutty crust on a piece of salmon. I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing chefs all over.

Is Happy Hemp your profession or an hobby?
It is my profession and my hobby. I love what I do and it is also my job. I am one of the lucky ones… I get to do what I love.

What is for you the most challenging aspect of this project?
Education. I spend a lot of time telling people I am not a drug dealer. There is a misconception of what hemp is and what it does!! I spend a ton of time telling people what I am not vs what I am.

What was the best achievement since you started?
The best achievement was being able to keep the doors open. Running your own business is hardcore. I have come close to shutting down many many times. I am grateful each day that I get to keep going!

What are the next steps?
I just became a new mum… and I thought running my own company was hard! I have already started experimenting in the kitchen with baby food. Who knows?!

For more information regarding Happy Hemp, visit hTara’s website Happy Hemp.

 

Win a copy of Guilt-Free Baking by Gee Charman!

958_original-300x385

We are giving away a copy of Guilt-Free Baking by Gee Charman!

Enter our competition below. The competition ends on August 19 and the winner will be randomly selected!

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recipe of the Week – Detoxifying Lemon Dahl

by Nisha Katona

When Indians want to give their guts a spa treatment, they get out the lentils. Every Indian has a bowl of dahl at the ready in the fridge, it is to India what ‘Dairylea on toast’ is to St Helens – stumbling in at night, a quick warming comfort. Full of protein, fat free and quick to cook, Dahl makes a great meat replacement. The freshness of the lemon and the green zing of the coriander give this dish a Jo Malone elegance. Lentils are not just for soap dodgers, how about a 2013 ‘meat free Monday’ resolution? Lentils could change your life and health for the better!

dahl

Ingredients: one cup of red lentils; 2 1/2 Cups of water; 1 teaspoon turmeric; 1/2 tin chopped tomato; 1 teaspoon cumin seeds; 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil; 1 chopped green chili (optional); salt to taste; 1 heaped teaspoon of sugar; juice of 1/2 lemon-more if you like it very lemony; half a bunch of chopped coriander leaf.

Method:

  • In a big pan, boil up your water, lentils, tomato, turmeric until it becomes like a medium thick soup. Add more water if you want it looser, boil on if you want it thicker.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds. When the have finished spluttering, add the green chili and turn off the heat.
  • Add the spiced oil to the boiled lentils and add the sugar, salt and lemon juice. Simmer for a further 5 minutes and add the coriander in at the end.
  • Serve with rice, with wraps or on its own with a spoon. Great cold with hot buttered toast!

You can find the video lesson of this recipe on www.nishakatona.com.

About the Author: Nisha Katona is a food writer, Indian Cookery teacher and founder of Mowgli pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bStreet food. She has series of Youtube video tutorials that have a worldwide following. She has over  22000 twitter followers for her daily recipes and live Curry Clinics. She has recently worked on a filming project with Food Network. Professionally Nisha has worked as a Barrister for over 20 years in the area of Child Protection. In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her as trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009, the Cabinet Office appointed her as an Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments, and in this capacity has been engaged as an expert advisor by The Guardian newspaper.

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

Nisha Katona
Pimp my Rice
Available from Nourish Books from October 2015

 

 

Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.

 

Natural Remedies to Beat Hay Fever

by Max Tomlinson

Eat foods rich in immune-boosting vitamins C and E, and avoid cow’s dairy.

What is hay fever?
An overactive immune system may identify pollen or other airborne particles as pathogens. These irritate the mucous membranes lining the nose and sinuses so that they produce watery mucus to flush away the offending particles. The body also releases histamines, which cause inflammation in the sinuses.

Pure-food solutions
AVOID ALLERGENIC FOODS
Try to avoid typical allergens, which will exacerbate the immune response, especially the production of mucus. Wheat and cow’s dairy are the main culprits.

EAT MORE RAW FRUIT AND VEG
Eat lots of organic fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E and the mineral zinc, to stabilize the immune system. The richest antioxidant foods are the berry family.

AVOID INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Red meat and eggs contain a compound called arachidonic acid (AA), too much of which exacerbates inflammation.

EAT LOCAL HONEY
Local honey contains pollen local to your area. It can acclimatize your immune system to the pollen, reducing the immune response. Eat foods rich in immune-boosting vitamins C and E, and avoid cow’s dairy.

Rice paper rolls with ginger citrus dipping sauce

Ingredients: 110g/4oz skinless organic chicken breast, cut into thin strips; 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed; 1⁄2 green apple, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks; 4 salad onions, trimmed and cut into thin strips lengthways; 1⁄2 red (bell) pepper, cut into matchsticks; 3 large Chinese leaf leaves, stems discarded and leaves finely shredded; 1⁄4 medium cucumber (85g/3oz), cut into matchsticks.
Small bunch coriander (cilantro), chopped; 20 mint leaves, shredded; 24 rice paper roll wrappers; 3 tbsp fresh orange juice; 4 tsp lime or lemon juice; 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated.

Method:

  • Put the chicken, olive oil and garlic into a wok over a high heat and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, until cooked through. Spread out on a plate and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Put the apple, onions, pepper, Chinese leaf, cucumber, coriander (cilantro) and mint into a
    large bowl. Add the cooled chicken, plus any juices on the plate, and toss together thoroughly.
  • Pour about 1.5cm/3⁄4 in cold water in a shallow dish. Dip a rice paper wrapper in the water and
    leave for 2 minutes to soften. Remove and spread out on a dry tea towel. Put a heaped teaspoon of the filling on the edge of the wrapper closest to you and fold the side edges inward to enclose the filling, then roll up.
  • Dampen the opposite edge of the rice paper wrapper slightly and press down to seal the roll, then put on a plate, seam side down, and cover with damp kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining rice paper wrappers and filling.
  • To make the dipping sauce, mix the orange juice, lime juice, ginger and chilli in a small bowl. Uncover the finished rolls and serve with the dipping sauce.

NOTE: You can wrap the filling in little gem lettuce leaves rather than rice paper if you want to avoid carbohydrates. Vegetarians can replace the chicken with 3 tbsp chopped and lightly toasted unsalted cashew nuts or peanuts.

Max Tomlinson is the UK’s top naturopath. In this book he reveals how you can harness the power of food to generate outstanding health, unfolding how foods in their pure form can protect you against pollution and disease and can help you to achieve long term health and vitality.

CleanUpYourDiet-e13546570181371-300x480

Max Tomlinson
Clean Up Your Diet
Available from Nourish Books

Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.