Sprig is a vegan friendly vegetarian pop up created by ex Dinner at Heston and Chiltern Firehouse chef Peter Pickering.
Soundbites was lucky enough to catch up with Peter during his latest event at the Brockley Mess, sample some dishes and also help out in the kitchen.
Peter’s cooking is light, respectful, informed and delicious. Vegetables are treated with the respect and care normally associated with fancy cuts of meat and fish, attention to detail and a passion for flavour are apparent in every mouthful.
Click Here to listen to the #soundbites interview with Peter. Also available onitunes, Android, Soundcloud
To find out more visit the Sprig website or get tickets for his next pop up Click here
People in many countries have very restricted access to protein in their daily diets, some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life and many more are undernourished .(WFP Hunger statistics). Governments in many underdeveloped countries are turning to the farming of insects to help fill this gap. One of the companies pioneering this in the UK is Mophagy and I was fortunate to meet Harry Harrison, one of the co-founders, earlier this year.
He gave me a real insight into this relatively new food industry and some samples to try too.
Hopefully some of you have started the Chef Foundation diet and are now over one week in and have got your heads round the concept and are enjoying a wheat and animal-fat free month. I have been eating lots of fruit, salads, soups and roasted vegetables and as promised here are a few simple recipes to help spice up meal times for you. These can be eaten with other items or as they are as a snack if you get peckish during the day.
You don’t need to weigh or measure anything for these recipes all amounts are just guidelines so just make things so they taste right to you. Add things like salt and pepper bit by bit. You can always add more but it is difficult to take it out!
2 ripe avocados
1 red chilli
1 clove garlic
1 finely chopped shallot
Handful of coriander
Juice of 1 lime
Splash of House dressing/olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Peel and stone the avocados
Place in a bowl and crush with the back of a fork
Add finely chopped chilli , shallot and garlic to taste
Add the juice of 1 lime
Add a handful of roughly chopped coriander
Add a splash of house dressing (see recipe) or Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Some people like to add some chopped tomato too.
This is an excellent addition whether you are dieting or not and can be made with dozens of variations. My favourites are Black Bean Salsa and also Basil and Ginger Salsa and I make mine quite wet but you can add any ingredients you have to hand and just experiment
Sweetcorn (fresh, tinned to frozen)
Chopped tomato (fresh or tinned)
Herbs (basil, parsley, tarragon, coriander) all work well
Sliced spring onions
House dressing/olive oil
Optional extras black beans, cannellini beans, avocado, roast aubergine, mango and much more
Chop and mix
Season to taste
White Bean Hummus
This is great as a dip for raw veg sticks or thin it down with water for a sauce or dressing.
400g Cannellini beans (tinned or dried)If using dried beans soak overnight in cold water with a teaspoon of Bicarb, this will help soften the skins then cook in fresh water till soft.
Handful of Coriander
1 clove of Garlic (you can always add more!)
Juice of 1 lemon
a teaspoon of Tahini (optional…I don’t bother)
Glug of House dressing
Salt & pepper
Pinch of Cayenne pepper or a little Tobasco
Blend all the ingredients except the coriander in a food processor until smooth
Check the flavour, consistancy and seasoning
Finish with roughly chopped coriander and make be some toasted pine nuts
1 kg overripe tomatoes (roughly chopped)
450g chopped Onions
2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
2 eating Apples, skin on just core and chop
pinch Mixed spice
1 shot brandy
200g Brown sugar
500ml balsamic vinegar
Put the onions, spices and liquids in a saucepan and boil until the liquids have reduced by half
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook out slowly for about an hour stirring regularly
The chutney will gradually turn brown as the liquids evaporate, make sure it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan
Tis now the season of the diet and they are big business. Wicksy, front page tabloid stuff & waffle board stomach, is 90 days subscription, yes 90 days. Some slimmers spend years on Weightwatchers making themselves miserable and still cough up every month.
We all overdid it at Christmas…you have to… so January always means diet. It is part punishment, part penance. Each year sees a craze of new wonder diets and fads most seem more focused on relieving you of pounds sterling than imperial.
Diets are difficult to stick to because they are often too complicated, too long, expensive, no fun and because we are all different a lot of them just don’t work.
I have got my own diet that I do twice a year, it is easy and has always worked for me, not just for weight loss but to freshen up and detox too. I call it The Chef Foundation diet. It’s not about eating less, your body needs fuel, It’s not about about suppressing desire cos we all enjoy treats. Its about cutting out a lot of the crap we all eat with an easy and straightforward formula.
The Chef Foundation diet is a short term life style change best adopted for a set period, I recommend a calendar month, this is long enough for your system to purge and change but not too long that the end is never in sight and manageable for most people. I like to start on the 1st of the month and run through. I am on it now.
The rules are simple. No animal fat and no wheat.
Apart from that you can eat and drink what you like. This does not have to be a vegetarian month. If you crave or miss animal protein then chicken breast (no skin) or white fish best poached, steamed or chargrilled can all be eaten. The secret is your mindset which is why a month helps too. By day 3 I am usually on it and the closer the end of the month gets the easier it becomes. Personally I never weigh myself. I know if I am losing weight from the way my clothes fit. When the month is over I feel better, have always lost some weight and have changed the way I look at my food intake. Our western diet is so wheat and additive driven and this causes lots of issues, food intolerance, bowel disorders, cancers etc.
The key for me is plenty of fresh fruit. I always have a big bowl of fruit salad in the fridge, I like acid and aqueous fruits, Grapefruit, orange, apples, melon, pineapple etc but you can add what you like. I eat this for breakfast and to snack on during the day. Evening meal I will have roast vegetables (great hot or cold), rice dishes, soups, salads, there’s loads of choice…sounds dull…not at all. I prepare in bulk and meal times become easy. I then add some fish or other protein when I fancy it. Tart things up with your own homemade dips, salsa, white bean hummus, aubergine and miso, guacamole, easy chutney. Add crunch with seeds and nuts or toasted pearl barley. Bulk up with sticky rice, wheat free granola on your breakfast, so much choice…
If you are going out for an evening meal try to stick to the rules. So don’t order deep pan pizza with extra cheese and chorizo. There are nearly always sensible options available. Reduce your use of salt and sugar and notice how your palate and taste buds wake up.
Prepare things in bulk so that you have food for a couple of days.
Review your shopping habits
Get your partner to join in
Don’t be sanctimonious
Enjoy the month
Don’t weigh yourself every 10 minutes.
This is not just about losing weight it is about rebalancing your body dynamics.
Some recipes and meal plans will follow over the next few days to help you get started.