Tag Archives: Food trends

More Cheese Please!

Woohoo, It’s British Cheese Week! I do LOVE cheese, as anyone who’s seen me, with my Neal’s Yard Cheese bag, will know.

Neal's Yard Covent Garden
Neal’s Yard Covent Garden

So this week, it’s an opportunity to gorge on cheddar (the nation’s favourite cheese – 80 per cent of Brits say it’s their cheese of choice), slice into some stichelton, or stir some goats cheese into a salad.

Inside the Borough shop
Inside the Borough shop

For me, oat cakes, charcoal crackers and parmesan biscuits (I could sit and eat a packet of M&S parmesan biscuits in one sitting) are essential, as is quince paste.

The Cheeseboard in Greenwich
The Cheeseboard in Greenwich

I love our local shop, the Cheeseboard in Greenwich, and news that Champagne and Fromage is opening an outpost here this month has filled me with excitement.

The tempting Cheeseboard, Greenwich
The tempting Cheeseboard, Greenwich

In central London, Neal’s Yard Dairy, La Fromagerie and the French cheese van at Borough Market (literally a guy who drives across from Normandy each Friday) are my favourites – and you can sit down and eat in at the cafe at La Fromagerie, too.

The outside of La Fromagerie, Marylebone
The outside of La Fromagerie, Marylebone

Anyway, here’s a bit of cheese-based research designed to celebrate Great British Cheese Week, from Branston. The average Brit consumes a palatable four servings of cheese a week, and our favourites are, drum roll please:

La Fromagerie1. Cheddar,

2. Mozzarella,

3. Red Leicester,

4. Brie,

5.Parmesan,

6. Stilton,

7. Wensleydale,

8.Feta

9. Camembert

10.Cream cheese

ALISON TYLER

Street food comes to Shrewsbury

I’m really excited to see the street food trend expanding outside London. And on 22 May, chef Marcus Bean is launching Eat Street in Shropshire’s medieval county town of Shrewsbury.

The pretty, bustling market town of Shrewsbury
The pretty, bustling market town of Shrewsbury

Among the eight traders that will be showcasing their street food will be seasoned street food favourites: The Beefy Boys from Hereford and London-based Dog Town London. They will be lined up alongside Shrewsbury’s Barkworths Seafoods, Eat Up’s big coffee van and Polly’s Parlour Vintage VW ice-cream van.

Add live music and entertainment and there will be a real festival vibe to the event. You can’t go home without one of Dogtown London’s Big Smokey hotdogs or a 12-hour smoked pulled pork bun.

Chef, and Eat Street founder, Marcus Bean in the kitchen garden
Chef, and Eat Street founder, Marcus Bean in the kitchen garden

Other flavours at the Eat Street Shrewsbury include wood fired pizza from the pizza Peddlers, hot dogs topped with chilli cheese from Dogtown London, fishy delights from Barkworths Shrewsbury Saint-Pierre stand, and ice-cream served from a vintage VW ice cream van called Florence.

* Eat Street, Shrewsbury will take place in the grounds of St Alkmunds church off Butcher Row, Shrewsbury on Friday 22nd May, 4pm-10pm. Entry will be free of charge.

For more information follow @eatstreetshrews on Twitter 

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 42
    Want to know the best foodie hubs across the UK? Here they are... The news that Berkeley Street has become London’s hottest gastronomic real estate may not come as a surprise to foodies, but where are the most delicious streets in other cities? Brighton: Kings Road Situated on the seafront,…
    Tags: food, street, pop-up, trends, drink
  • 34
    Earlier this week I met Tanya Maher, a nutritionist, certified health coach and co-founder of one of London's first organic raw food restaurants. She's tiny and perfect and looks a good five years younger than her years. The reason? Seven years ago she went raw. After switching her diet to start drinking…
    Tags: food, london, drink, trends
  • 31
    We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. "Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here," asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5. I scoured the map.…
    Tags: food, trends, drink, eat
  • 31
    If you fell off the January diet wagon, there is a fail-safe solution. No need to shop or chop, these fully-prepared ready meals are all calorie-counted and come delivered to your door, so that you can slim like a celebrity Balance Box Choose from a 1200 calorie or 1800 calorie…
    Tags: food, pizza, london, eat, bean, drink
  • 31
    She’s a food blogging sensation whose adventures in healthy, healing eating have attracted millions of loyal followers online, now 23-year-old Ella Woodward has released a cookbook, Deliciously Ella – a bible for living and eating well, it might just change your life I can spot Ella Woodward’s London flat even…
    Tags: food, trends, drink

Restaurant review: The Ethicurean

We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. “Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here,” asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5.

I scoured the map. We didn’t really want to drive in to Bristol as we were heading south-east of there, to explore the Somerset/Wiltshire borders. And then I remembered I’d been wanting to try The Ethicurean for a while. But where was it? Not quite in Bristol.

A Google search and phone call later we were booked in to this ethical, hyper-local, sustainable restaurant that sits in a walled garden south of Bristol. I say restaurant, but  The Ethicurean is really a ramshackle greenhouse and shed, stuck to one corner of the Barley Wood Walled Garden. If that makes it sound scruffy, then you shouldn’t go. But if you love the romantic notion of sitting in the orangery of the very garden that the produce on your plate was grown in, and to hell with a bit of damp on the walls, or the wonky mis-matched tables and chairs, then this is the place for you.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

As a gardener, an interiors addict and a greedy appetite for food, I was in heaven! Looking out, sipping cider from apples grown in the orchard, you could imagine Peter Rabbit might pop up at any moment and steal an organic carrot.

But, romance aside, the aims of this place are in credible. Virtually all of the food comes from the garden or is foraged locally, so menus are created each day according to what’s on offer. I was worried that we were visiting at possibly the worst time of the year – the winter season over, nothing would be growing for spring yet, apart from the earliest wild garlic and maybe some nettles and rhubarb.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

I needn’t have been. They pickle and preserve what they can, so the beetroot starter with strained goats cheese was divine. They also make their own cider from the apples and even their own vermouth to go in the Negronis. Our other starter – cider and cheddar Welsh rarebit – did not disappoint. The cider and cheese had been cooked and turned in to a thick fondue, then spread on the doorstep slab of home-baked bread and grilled into submission. A sharp salad of winter leaves and pickled carrot in place of tomatoes, cut through the rich rarebit to clean the palette.

Our mains were even better – considering the chefs were cooking in a shed the size of, well, a shed, this was a miracle. My pork belly was pressed to squeeze out some of the fat and served with chipotle crackling, more beetroot, pickled apple slices and deep, forest green kale. The husband’s bavette was succulent and stylishly presented. We may have been in a garden but there was no heavy-handed presentation, the finesse of the food and it’s delectable flavours were matched by the delicate presentation.

The Ethicurean
The Ethicurean

Pudding? Sticky toffee apple pudding! It could have had more sauce – as the husband pointed out, it isn’t hard to whip up – but it was moist and treacly without being stodgy or heavy. All in all, we were bowled over.

The only thing we couldn’t understand on this sunny, blustery spring Friday lunchtime, was why it wasn’t packed out? People of Bristol, what are you doing?! Perhaps you’re already too spoiled for choice by great, ethical, locally-sourced eateries…

The Ethicurean cookbook
The Ethicurean cookbook

ALISON TYLER

Britain’s best Eat Streets

Want to know the best foodie hubs across the UK? Here they are…

The news that Berkeley Street has become London’s hottest gastronomic real estate may not come as a surprise to foodies, but where are the most delicious streets in other cities?

The view from GB1 in Brighton
The view from GB1 in Brighton

Brighton: Kings Road

Situated on the seafront, this is the go-to destination for any food fan, especially seafood lovers.

Salt Room
Salt Room

The hottest new opening, right on the seafront, is The Salt Room, sister to the Brighton’s famous Coal Shed steak restaurant, who’s menu focuses on sustainable British fish, including cuttlefish, bouillabaisse and lobster – but the huge cocktail list is worth the trip alone.

The stylish GB1
The stylish GB1

Or try GB1, a glam culinary hotspot that is renowned for its exceptional seafood. Grab a seat at the central champagne and oyster bar and share a seafood platter, all sourced from the south coast – with 75 per cent caught within an eight-mile radius of the hotel.

Other King’s Road favourites include Smokeys, for a flavour of America (great for a Californian brunch), Steki, a Greek taverna with live music, and the Regency restaurant for traditional seaside fish and chips.

The seafood afternoon tea at the Victoria Lounge
The seafood afternoon tea at the Victoria Lounge

Head to the Victoria Lounge Bar and Terrace at the Grand Hotel for afternoon tea with a seaside twist – think salted scones served with crème fraiche, chives and Keta caviar, and treacle-cured salmon. Or make for the Hilton’s Waterhouse bar and terrace to sip on Sussex Mules and chow down on a local Hailsham lamb burger.

 

 

Bakers and Co
Bakers and Co

Bristol: Gloucester Road

The longest independent shopping street in the UK, Gloucester Road – also known as Stokes Croft – boasts pubs, foodie shops and restaurants nestled between Banksys and artists studios, with a laidback, alternative vibe, that’s uniquely Bristolian.

Poco Bristol
Poco Bristol

Start at the original Pieminster shop for a steak and ale pie washed down with a local craft beer, stop at Poco – voted Best Ethical Restaurant by The Guardian – for global tapas plates including roasted belly of pork with fennel crackling, homemade Moroccan harissa and chorizo and merguez sausages, then there’s an incredible co-operative called The Canteen, where free live music sets the backdrop for affordable “slow food” that’s all super sustainable and ethical.

Poco
Poco

There are two Caribbean restaurants – Rice and Tings and Plantation which turns into a salsa club after hours. For more musical inspiration, stop at the pub where George Ezra was discovered, the Gallimaufry, a curious bar combining local art, music, home cooking and good drinks, all under one roof.

Huevos rancheros at Bakers and Co
Huevos rancheros at Bakers and Co

Another late-night institution, Biblos is the place for wraps and snacks, while the morning after you’ll find everyone brunching at Baker’s and Co, a San Francisco-inspired café and deli where everything is baked from scratch.

 

 

Edinburgh's Grassmarket
Edinburgh’s Grassmarket

Edinburgh: Grassmarket 

The historic cobbled streets of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s Old Town are packed with amazing culinary independent shops and restaurants.

Melli's Cheese
Melli’s Cheese

Tempt your taste buds with some foodie shopping: Demijohn was the world’s first liquid deli when it opened in 2004 selling bespoke vinegars, oils and liqueurs; Melli’s Cheese is an Edinburgh institution that stocks the city’s best restaurants and is a delight for the senses; get a flavour of Scotland at the Saturday Market, which has an abundance of locally grown and produced organic vegetables, artisan breads, fresh meat and fish as well as street food and the most amazing gin macaroons.

Hula Juice bar
Hula Juice bar

Make a pit stop at the Hula Juice Bar – the Betty Ford Detox Smoothie is virtue in a glass; for something less saintly try Mary’s Milk Bar for a cosy gelato, hot chocolate or freshly-made chocolate truffles – you can even join the monthly truffle-making masterclass. If you like your tipples a little stronger there’s a clutch of traditional pubs including the White Hart Inn, Beehive Inn and the Last Drop Tavern.

OInk hog roast
OInk hog roast

As for dining out, new arrival Oink specialises in delicious hog roasts from the owners’ Scottish Borders farm, while Maison Bleue offers an eclectic mix of French, North African and Scottish cuisine all sourced from local suppliers and producers. Mamma’s Pizzeria serves some of Edinburgh’s best, fresh stone-baked pizza alongside delicious steak on the stone, pasta and a great range of starters, sides and desserts.

Grain Store
Grain Store

But for a truly Scottish treat seek out the Grain Store, above the market and beneath stone vaulted ceilings and archways of the original storerooms used by the warren of shops below, serving the very best of Scottish produce.

 

 

Circo Lounge
Circo Lounge 

Bournemouth: Poole Road

The Westbourne neighbourhood, centring around Poole Road is brimming with independent delis, cool cafes and artisan food shops, just a 15-minute stroll from the beach.

Le Petit Prince bakery
Le Petit Prince bakery

Le Petit Prince on Poole Road sells delicious, award-winning bread made on the premises as well as cakes and coffees; a little further up the road is Chocol8, a luxury chocolate shop and coffee lounge.

le-petit-prince-patisserie

Something savoury? Badger and Bumble is a fab deli offering British cheeses and pies; Circo Lounge is a laidback brunch and tapas bar with a cool, casual vibe, while Geneve, an American-style diner and burger joint is one of the best places to eat in Bournemouth.

Circo Lounge
Circo Lounge

Best of all, you can bag up your farmers market (on the first Saturday of every month) and deli feast and wander through a wooded pathway from here to Alum Chine beach for a picnic al fresco.

 

 

Trinity Kitchen
Trinity Kitchen

Leeds: Trinity Leeds, Boar Lane

The city’s glossy, glass-covered shopping area, is also home to some of the best restaurants and to Trinity Kitchen – each month five different street food trucks are lifted into this industrial-chic space to create an ever-changing, vibrant grab-and-go eatery, that’s as cool as it is affordable.

Noisette bakery
Noisette bakery

For cocktails, try the garden-inspired Botanist and share a watering can (yes, really) with friends – the Raspberry and Sage (sage, black grapes, raspberry vodka, elderflower liqueur, grenadine, white wine and lemonade) is our favourite pick. The Alchemist is a stylish spot for a lazy brunch or lunch.

Kerb Edge at Trinity Kitchen
Kerb Edge at Trinity Kitchen

For something more substantial, Crafthouse, five storeys above Boar Lane with glittering views, headed up by Lee Bennett pays homage to the areas amazing local producers and serves up the best of British and Yorkshire. Angelica, on Trinity’s top floor, has become the city’s latest go-to destination for drinks and dinner – the Raw Bar and the rooftop terrace are the must-book seats.

Trinity Kitchen
Trinity Kitchen

Meanwhile, Meatliquor will satisfy and burger cravings, and those with a sweet tooth should head down Boar Lane to Roast and Conch, the flagship café and restaurant from the team behind Hotel Chocolat.

 

 

Manchester House
Manchester House

Manchester: Spinningfields

One of the city’s most vibrant, newest destinations, Spinningfields is fast-becoming Manchester’s gastro capital.

Manchester House in Bridge Street serves Michelin-worthy modern British food (from Michelin chef Aiden Byrne) in a warehouse setting, while it’s lounge bar up on the 12th floor and roof of the building is a real draw too, with 360 degree views of the city.

Manchester House
Manchester House

The Left Bank Café in the People’s History Museum is a lovely place to catch up over lunch or a glass of wine, make sure to bag a seat on the waterside balcony. Pick up sweet treats at Hey Little Cupcake, or move straight onto the stronger stuff at Oast House or Neighbourhood – a Manhattan-inspired bar.

The Lawn Club reopens next month with a members-club feel and a retractable roof so that you can savour drinks and British small plates (very now) al fresco.

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in Metro on 17 March 2015

Related Posts

  • 47
    We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. "Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here," asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5. I scoured the map.…
    Tags: bristol, food, restaurant, restaurants, trends, drink, local, british
  • 42
    I'm really excited to see the street food trend expanding outside London. And on 22 May, chef Marcus Bean is launching Eat Street in Shropshire's medieval county town of Shrewsbury. Among the eight traders that will be showcasing their street food will be seasoned street food favourites: The Beefy Boys…
    Tags: street, food, pop-up, drink, trends
  • 34
    This week I headed to St Katherine's Dock in London to new Japanese-Peruvian (aka Nikkei cuisine, which is the same as Nobu serves) eatery Amaru. It's small and a mix of take-out and eat-in food, but it's brilliant value (think £4-£6 a dish) and amazing quality. The miso soup was…
    Tags: chocolate, bar, delicious, serves, food, amazing, restaurant, trends, drink, restaurants

Restaurant review: Amaru

This week I headed to St Katherine’s Dock in London to new Japanese-Peruvian (aka Nikkei cuisine, which is the same as Nobu serves) eatery Amaru. It’s small and a mix of take-out and eat-in food, but it’s brilliant value (think £4-£6 a dish) and amazing quality.

Toasted sesame-crusted tuna with truffle shavings at Amaru, London
Toasted sesame-crusted tuna with truffle shavings at Amaru, London

The miso soup was rich and dark and silky smooth; spicy edamame had a coating of sticky and delicious hot sauce, and sesame seeds for added crunch; the toasted sesame-crusted tuna with truffle and avocado looked almost too beautiful to eat. My favourite was the Peruvian cured beef, wrapped around shredded sweet potato with yuzu, although the rich chocolate ganache cake with mandarin wasabi was pretty dreamy, too (a bargain at £5). Light and airy, it was completely moreish – so much for the “one spoonful” that I was planning to eat!

OI0A8994

This gem of a place seats just 15 and is designed to look like a Japanese izakaya bar inside – it’s the perfect place to try eating healthily without even realising it.

OI0A9006

Find out more at @amaru_skd on Twitter.

Related Posts

  • 10000
    One of the biggest trends of the past year has been for restaurants to do less, but do it better, whether it’s chicken, burgers or lobster. Den is set to do the same thing for noodles. There’s nothing flashy or pretentious about this local, light and airy, Wagamama-style udon diner.…
  • 10000
    This feature appeared in Metro on 25 November...   Forget the Negroni, ditch the Aperol Spritz – the new drink du jour is the Pisco Sour. Velvet-y smooth, complex and bursting with citrus-y flavours, this grape brandy from Peru is taking the bar scene by storm since Martin Morales opened…
  • 10000
    Here's a piece I wrote for Metro this week about the explosion of new chicken joints that are hip, ethical and healthy... In the paper there wasn't room to mention the myriad of new places, so I have added a few more here: First it was gourmet burgers, then posh…

The delightful Deliciously Ella

She’s a food blogging sensation whose adventures in healthy, healing eating have attracted millions of loyal followers online, now 23-year-old Ella Woodward has released a cookbook, Deliciously Ella – a bible for living and eating well, it might just change your life

I can spot Ella Woodward’s London flat even without knowing the house number – it’s the one with the Ocado van parked outside. But unlike your average 23-year-old’s grocery shop, a delivery of healthy, wholesome natural ingredients and supplements has just arrived. You won’t find any processed foods, nor meat, dairy, gluten, refined sugar and caffeine Ella’s airy all-white and grey kitchen with a huge marble island in the centre.

That’s because she’s part of a growing tribe of health-conscious new hipsters who are changing the way we eat, along with the Hemsley sisters, raw food pioneer Tanya Maher and alkaline-eating enthusiast Natasha Corrett. This isn’t about dieting to lose weight, it’s about changing your diet for maximum health – and the one thing all these women have in common, Ella included, is that they are flipping gorgeous. Ella’s long, tousled hair shines like a glossy L’Oreal ad, her skin glows and she positively bounces with energy –but not in a wired way. And naturally, she’s long-limbed and super-slim.

But none of those happy side-effects are what got her into her radical change of diet, nor a love of cooking. “I was the biggest Haribo and sugar-monster before,” she confesses “In my first year at St Andrews uni I practically lived off Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream, fizzy pick ‘n’ mix, and chocolate.” She didn’t eat any fruit and vegetables.

In 2011 and half-way through her art history degree everything changed. Ella became incredibly ill and could barely get out of bed, let alone walk. She was eventually diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome and despite medication she was bed-ridden 70 per cent of the time – it was the best the conventional medicine could offer. “It was really quite depressing, but one day I thought ‘I can’t live the rest of my life like this, I’ll be living with my parents for ever unless I do something.” That’s when she started Googling for alternative ways to heal her condition. She stumbled across the book Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, a Stage Four cancer patient who completely overhauled her diet and ten years later is still alive and more well than ever.

ella

“It changed my life overnight. I told my parents that I was going to give up sugar, diary, gluten, meat and anything processed and start a wholefoods, plant-based diet. They laughed at me because it sounded so ridiculous, but I was determined to take control of my situation. The first two months were so dull, I think I ate the same thing – brown rice pasta and sauce, and mashed avocado on buckwheat toast – but I realised that I felt a little better.”

That was the motivation Ella needed to continue her journey of discovery and start searching for more ingredients and recipes, teaching herself to cook along the way – and also to start a blog to keep track of her progress.

“I never expected anyone to read it, I didn’t’ even show it to anyone for the first two months. But then after six months I had 100,000 hits.”
As Ella’s confidence with her cooking and recipes grew, so did her fan-base. “In the second six months, the blog had 900,000 hits – it was incredible, and quite surreal,” she says smiling with genuine astonishment.

And once she realised she could still have the sweet treats, her diet became more manageable and fun – the sweet potato and maple syrup brownies are still by far the most popular recipe on her site.

ellabrownies_2827471b

Without realising it Ella had tapped into a new food movement of people searching for a cleaner way to eat, that offers more energy – and the possibility of healing various ailments.

I ask who she looked to for inspiration with her natural, plant-based recipes. “To be honest there wasn’t really anyone else out there – I love what some other bloggers are doing like Hemsley and Hemsley but there weren’t any traditional chefs cooking this kind of food.”

“What about Ottolenghi?” I say, the nation’s leading vegetarian cookbook writer. “Honestly, I hadn’t heard of him,” she replies. “But when I found his recipes they were all quite complicated with long lists of ingredients, and I couldn’t cook, so I wanted to make things that are quick and easy and that don’t require too many ingredients or too much washing up.”

Her current favourite recipe? “Black and kidney bean chilli, I love it and it’s so comforting –I knew I had to put it in my book.”

And what about those sugar cravings? “Now I’ll make a big batch of energy balls with dates, nuts, coconut oil, raw cacao and hemp protein powder, and snack on those – they’re completely delicious and so sweet, they’re awesome. I look at Haribos now and think it’s kind of weird that I was every so addicted to them.”

Her enthusiasm and beauty – she’s the best advert for clean-living I’ve ever seen – are certainly infectious. That afternoon I find myself in the supermarket and then the health-food shop buying buckwheat, brown rice flour, coconut oil and spirulina to name just a few of the dizzying list of new ingredients needed for her recipes (I even had to resort to Amazon to get the raw cacao powder). It’s worth it though. One week, and 22 date balls later, I haven’t eaten a single chocolate or cake!

black bean curry  

BLACK AND KIDNEY BEAN CHILLI

This is one of the simplest and most nourishing recipes in the book. It only takes 10 minutes to put together and it’s wonderfully filling and comforting. It’s one of my go-to meals all winter. It’s a great dish to make if you’re feeding lots of people too as it’s no more complicated to make for twelve then it is for two. It requires almost no chopping, so you won’t be in the kitchen for hours!

Serves 4

2 carrots, grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
600g passata
50g tomato purée
2 x 400g tins black beans
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans
1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilli flakes (add more if you like it extra spicy) brown rice, to serve
salt and pepper

Place the carrot and garlic into a large saucepan.

Add the passata, tomato purée, both the beans, jalapeño pepper and the chilli flakes to the saucepan along with some salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook the chilli for about 10 minutes, stirring it well, until it’s lovely and warm and everything’s nicely mixed together.

Pour the chilli over brown rice and enjoy.

Top tip

Make extra batches of this and freeze them as it makes a delicious, filling meal when you don’t have time to prepare anything.

Recipe extracted from Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward, to be published on 29th January by Yellow Kite, £20 © Ella Woodward 2015

brownies Sweet Potato Brownies

These brownies have consistently been the most popular recipe on my blog. They’ve had more than double the amount of hits than the next most popular recipe and I’ve seen thousands of my readers’ photographs of them on Instagram! There’s a good reason for all this love, though – the brownies are divine. I know it sounds strange to put vegetables into sweet dishes, but sweet potatoes taste more like dessert anyway and they create the gooiest consistency!Makes 1 cake (12 slices)

Makes 10–12 brownies

2 medium-large sweet potatoes (600g)
14 Medjool dates, pitted
⅔ mug ground almonds (80g)
½ mug buckwheat or brown rice flour (100g)
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C).

Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about 20 minutes, until they become really soft.

Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart, remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates. Blend until a smooth, creamy mix forms.

Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato and date combination. Stir well.

Place the mix into a lined baking dish and cook for about 20–30 minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork and bring it out dry.

Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. This is really important, as the brownies need this time to stick together!

Top tip

If you don’t have any raw cacao powder, then you can use conventional cocoa powder, but you’ll need to at least double the quantity.

Recipe extracted from Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward, to be published on 29th January by Yellow Kite, £20 © Ella Woodward 2015

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in Metro on 27 January 2015

Related Posts

  • 10000
    Cold-pressed juice What's hot this year? More like what's cold –cold-pressed, that is. Raw is a growing trend, but it's pretty hard-core to eat raw in winter, or all of the time. But the theory is that to preserve the most nutrients and vitamins, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, are…
  • 10000
    Earlier this week I met Tanya Maher, a nutritionist, certified health coach and co-founder of one of London's first organic raw food restaurants. She's tiny and perfect and looks a good five years younger than her years. The reason? Seven years ago she went raw. After switching her diet to start drinking…
  • 10000
    It’s January, and if like most of us, you’ve got food fatigue after three weeks of non-stop binge eating and drinking on mince pies, mulled wine and all manner of turkey-based foods, you might be thinking about eating more healthily this month, maybe even starting a – whisper it –…
  • 56
    Today I interviewed the gorgeous and utterly charming Ella Woodward, aka Deliciously Ella, whose blog has taken the internet - and the food world – by storm. Incredibly, this proponent of clean living and eating is just 23 years old, and she’s no fad dieter either. Although she espouses the…
    Tags: ella, food, deliciously, brownies, powder, raw, sweet, rice, brown, healthy
  • 47
    If you fell off the January diet wagon, there is a fail-safe solution. No need to shop or chop, these fully-prepared ready meals are all calorie-counted and come delivered to your door, so that you can slim like a celebrity Balance Box Choose from a 1200 calorie or 1800 calorie…
    Tags: food, diet, healthy, drink

5 food trends for 2015

Clean+Sweep

Cold-pressed juice
What’s hot this year? More like what’s cold –cold-pressed, that is. Raw is a growing trend, but it’s pretty hard-core to eat raw in winter, or all of the time. But the theory is that to preserve the most nutrients and vitamins, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, are best eaten in their natural state. Bur ask anyone who’s eaten their way through a raw salad without any dressing and they’ll tell you there’s only so much roughage you can eat before getting bored. Juicing is the obvious solution, and while you lose some of the fibre you can absorb the vitamins and nutrients faster and more easily – and you can add super-powders (read on to learn more) to give an extra health boost. Most juices you buy have been heated, but cold-pressed is the new gold standard. Expect to see this prefix in all the hippest bars, cafes and brands. If you don’t have your own cold-press juicer, try ordering juices from Raw Press.

19736_1

Spiralize your life
Who knew that spiralizing would be such a massive trend? Well those clever clogs at Lakeland did, for one. Since December they’ve sold out of their spiralizers twice already “They’re literally flying off the shelves,” explains buyer Catherine. “We were actually ahead of the trend and started selling them about four years ago but we were too early so we took it out of the store. When customer requests to bring it back kept creeping up and up we knew something was happening.” And now, thanks to bloggers like Hemsley + Hemsley, whose own fancy spiralizer can be bought from Selfridge’s, and Deliciously Ella, we’re all in a bit of a spin for spiralling. Think courgette spaghetti, cucumber ribbons and carrot noodles.

spirulina-powder

Super powders
Forget vitamins and health supplements, now it’s all about super powders. Ultra powerful antioxidants, hemp protein powders that are rich in vitamin E, energising spirulina and acai, and skin-boosting, hormone-balancing maca powder, and kick-ass immune-improving, alkalising chlorella.
Add them to recipes, sprinkle them over your cereal, blend them into a smoothie or drink it like a tincture, these powders are not cheap but are the buzz-word in health at the moment.
If you want a pre-made blend, Elle MacPherson’s SuperElixir powder mixes 45 ingredients and is designed to be added to a smoothie to help heal, energise and defend your body from illness and attack.

paleo-diet-foods

The Paleo diet
I predict 2015 will be the year that what were once considered special dietary requirements, such as gluten and dairy-free dishes, will become not only mainstream but fashionable.
Step forward the Paleo diet, a new take on the Stone-age diet, and this year’s 5:2.
Simply put, if a caveman couldn’t eat it you can’t either. That means no dairy, refined sugar or wheat as farming did not exist at that time, but plenty of fruit, veg, nuts and seeds, leaves, eggs and meat.
The first Paleo-only restaurant, Pure Taste, opened in Notting Hill at the end of 2014 – expect to see many more menus catering for this style of eating this year.
Diet delivery company Soulmate Food launched a Paleo plan in December and it has fast-become one of their most popular plans, with the likes of Mel C and Michelle Keegan now following it.

This Cauliflour cake by Yotam Ottolenghi, from his book Plenty More, taps into the savoury baking trend (image by Jonathan Lovekin)
This Cauliflour cake by Yotam Ottolenghi, from his book Plenty More, taps into the savoury baking trend (image by Jonathan Lovekin)

Savoury baking
Fans of the Great British Bake Off might well be asking “what on earth is left for them to bake next year?” after this year’s Swedish Princess cakes, Polish poppy seed Makowiec and French Kouign Amann, there can’t many obscure bakes left.
Lakeland is tipping savoury bakes – think courgette cake and sun-dried tomato and basil muffins – breads and pies as the next direction for baking this year, and is launching a range of savoury essences and oils accordingly.
And since we’re all giving up refined sugar anyway this year (yet another big trend – swap to agave syrup, maple, honey and dates for healthier alternatives), this is one baking trend we can actually eat!

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 10000
    Earlier this week I met Tanya Maher, a nutritionist, certified health coach and co-founder of one of London's first organic raw food restaurants. She's tiny and perfect and looks a good five years younger than her years. The reason? Seven years ago she went raw. After switching her diet to start drinking…
  • 10000
    Today I interviewed the gorgeous and utterly charming Ella Woodward, aka Deliciously Ella, whose blog has taken the internet - and the food world – by storm. Incredibly, this proponent of clean living and eating is just 23 years old, and she’s no fad dieter either. Although she espouses the…
  • 10000
    It’s January, and if like most of us, you’ve got food fatigue after three weeks of non-stop binge eating and drinking on mince pies, mulled wine and all manner of turkey-based foods, you might be thinking about eating more healthily this month, maybe even starting a – whisper it –…

Eat out, lose weight!

It’s January, and if like most of us, you’ve got food fatigue after three weeks of non-stop binge eating and drinking on mince pies, mulled wine and all manner of turkey-based foods, you might be thinking about eating more healthily this month, maybe even starting a – whisper it – diet.

And restaurants are finally starting to cater to this growing market of fussy eaters – the carb avoiders, the raw food dieters, and most recently, the super-low calorie 5:2 “fast” dieters, who spend two days a week consuming just 500 calories.

As a food-lover I hate the idea of restricting what I eat, or curbing the social, interactive, fun activity that is dining out with friends. To me, dieting feels like the antithesis of what food should be, a pleasurable experience to be savoured and enjoyed, preferably around a table full of people with great conversation and flowing wine.

So it was with some trepidation that I ventured to Le Balcon in London’s St James’ to try their De-Light menu, which promises a full, and filling, three courses for 500 calories. Yes, that’s right, you can finally eat out in a beautiful dining room in central London, even on one of your “fasting” days.

fond

The calorie content listed next to each dish on the menu was very persuasive and instantly I opted for the least calorific options. No doubt this is intentional on the part of the menu-planners. It certainly works.

In fact the first long-term study into the impact of calorie labelling on body weight, published at the end of last year, showed that labelling calories can reduce weight gain by half. In the study by the University of Glasgow young adults who were consistently exposed to prominent calorie labelling of main meals ordered meals with almost 20 per cent fewer calories than when the meals were not labelled. They reduced their likelihood of gaining any weight over a one-year period by 50 per cent. So don’t be surprised to start seeing calories appearing on a menu near you soon – the government is very keen on increased labelling on food, even in restaurants and cafes. It’s a public health trend that looks set to mushroom.

Beetroot and endive salad
Beetroot and endive salad

I started with a beetroot, pear and endive salad – beautifully presented, it was surprisingly large and even came with a chive vinaigrette dressing. It was also quite delicious. I checked the calorie count on the menu: 45! That made it doubly delicious and left me feeling rather smug. My other half’s tuna-stuffed tomato with cucumber tartare looked incredible, but at 210 calories it was positively belt-busting by comparison, though still astonishingly low when considered alongside a regular restaurant starter.

Me, at Le Balcon, tucking into my chicken
Me, at Le Balcon, tucking into my chicken

You see eating out isn’t the same as eating in. What makes restaurant food so scrumptious is the ridiculous amounts of butter, cream, oil and salt compared to what you might use when cooking at home. It’s what makes restaurant food taste to rich, flavoursome and moreish. According to a study by the University of Toronto, the average restaurant dish contains more than 1100 calories – that’s more than half an adult’s recommended daily intake on just one plate. They also contain 151 per cent of the recommended levels of sodium and 58grams, or 89 per cent, of your recommended daily amount of fat.

Trying to replicate the flavours, taste and look of restaurant-standard dishes without the fat, salt, sugar and calories is no mean feat. “It’s not natural for a chef to think this way,” admits Le Balcon’s executive chef Vincent Menager. “But once you get used to finding ways to make dishes without the carbohydrate, fat and sugar, it is actually quite a creative process to create the menu.”

You won’t find much bread, pasta or potato on the De-Light menu, but there are plenty of vegetables and meat. Stevia is used in place of sugar and fromage frais instead of cream.

Braised Turbot Fillet and Langoustines Cream
Braised Turbot Fillet and Langoustines Cream

Menager avoids frying food in oil or butter, opting for poaching, grilling or roasting instead. He use herbs and spices to add excitement and flavour to vegetables or plain meat – chilli-roasted squash is satisfying and tempting to eat. A salad with mint, rocket, peppery watercress or aromatic basil leaves thrown in will be so much more intense than a bog-standard lettuce.

Dining-2

Next I ordered the poached cockerel with steamed vegetables and mustard sauce – 300 calories in total. My husband chose the glazed salmon with ratatouille, which looked stunning for just 320 calories. It was genuinely delicious, light and fragrant, as well as filling. And at the end of it I felt full without the bloated, heavy, slightly uncomfortable feeling that you often experience at the end of a restaurant meal.

The De-Light meal was a success – had I not known about the virtuous lack of calories I would not have felt deprived in any way. Well, not until I glanced at the table next to me, where the diners on the regular menu were tucking into huge juicy burgers oozing with creamy cheese, served with salty, fried chips that they were frivolously dipping into sugar-and-calorie-laden tomato ketchup with hungry abandon.

Mango Soft Cake
Molten mango cake with light coconut ice cream, 130 calories

After that, dessert was – as someone who would looks at the pudding list before I even think about ordering my starter and main courses – a disappointment. There is simply no satisfactory way to get around the combination of sugar, cream, butter, and sometimes chocolate, that is needed to create a really great pud.

Food

The strawberry parfait looked pretty enough and was a gallant attempt at a decadent dessert. But it wasn’t decadent. The “parfait” was actually low-fat yoghurt and reminded me of childhood meals when a French-style yoghurt constituted pudding, and there was a saccharine hint of sweetener (Stevia, perhaps) instead of sugar. While some people would still love a pudding, I’d rather forgo the calories and have a decent milky coffee instead to round off a meal. But for those with a sweet tooth that has to be satiated, the tiny 120 calories were not to be sniffed at. My entire three-course meal came to just 465 calories – that roughly equivalent to a Snickers 2togo bar at 440 calories.

eating-healthily-top

While Le Balcon was possibly the grandest place to eat out on a diet, it is among a growing band of eateries catering for slimmed-down appetites. Pizza Express introduced its low-calorie Leggera menu five years ago, but has recently gone further, creating pizzas with less than 400 calories, the American Hot comes in at 396 calories – admittedly there is a hole in the centre of your pizza that has been replaced with salad, but it’s still pretty impressive that you can eat out at a high street pizza chain even on a strict diet. Your fellow guests need never know that you are watching your weight if you order the new gambaretti picante – this prawn in passata sauce dish contains just 200 calories, while the superfood salad contains 295 calories. What’s more, the lemon sorbet and an espresso come in at a mere 84 calories.

Ping Pong Dim Sum 1_tcm87-23194

At Ping Pong you can also to chow down at minimal calorific expense – dumplings start at 84 calories, while beef and chilli parcels are just 123 calories and even king prawn and scallop sticky rice checks in at a lean 271 calories. Of course, the danger with dim sum, like tapas, is that it’s easy to over-order and max out on calories, but if you want o eat out with friends while watching what you eat, it’s a great choice as it doesn’t feel overtly healthy or worthy.

restaurant17

If the Atkins, South Beach or Dukan diet are more your style head to Sixtyone restaurant in London’s Marble Arch, which is offering a two-course carb-free lunch menu and a detox cocktail – the Detox Julep comprises cucumber, green tea, honey and gin – for £18 in January.

plateau_bar_grill_restaurant_canary_wharf_london_3

The bar at Canary Wharf’s Plateau also has 100 calorie-cocktails on its menu this month, using Fair quinoa vodka (yes, really!). Try the StratosFairic martini, made with cherry tomatoes, French mustard, celery salt, cayenne pepper, oregano, lemon juice, basil and mint.

Dining out on a diet isn’t easy, but the latest options are a whole lot better than staying in all January doing a juice cleanse.

 

Eating in? Try these low-calorie brands

Kirsty’s
Gluten- and dairy-free, and so low in calories that they have even been featured in the 5:2 diet book, Kirsty’s ready meals start from 260 calories and all promise to be less than 500 calories. Try the new Beef Lasagne, the only one on the market that is gluten-free and Thai Chicken Noodle. Available at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose, Ocado and Budgens. www.kirstys.co.uk 

Soulful Foods
This range of six one-pot meals makes an ideal choice anyone wanting a health-kick – all contain two of your five-a-day and are under 500 calories. The latest recipe, Mexican Bean and Sweet Potato with Quinoa, is 243 calories and gluten-free, while the diry-free British Pulled Pork Stew with Chorizo, Beans and Spelt is just 290 calories. Available at Ocado and Booths. www.soulfulfood.com

Cook OMG Pots
All of Cook’s OMG pots contain less than 400 calories and 14 grams of fat. The Thai-style Chicken Patties in an aromatic broth have 147 calories and 1.6g of fat, while Chicken Pho is a measly 139 calories and 1.5g of fat. Available at Cook stores and for nationwide delivery from www.cookfood.net

ALISON TYLER

 This article appeared in the Independent on 16 January 2015.

A raw diet: super healthy or a raw deal?

Earlier this week I met Tanya Maher, a nutritionist, certified health coach and co-founder of one of London’s first organic raw food restaurants. She’s tiny and perfect and looks a good five years younger than her years.

The reason? Seven years ago she went raw. After switching her diet to start drinking green smoothies each morning, both Tanya and her husband noticed that they didn’t get ill (she had been one of those people, like me, who usually gets a cold or sniffle with each new season). And when her then-boyfriend phoned her from the office one day to say that he was the only one at work – everyone else was sick with Swine Flu – she had a lightbulb moment.

Zvqkjkagmdr6Ev

After a bit of research decided to introduce more raw foods and alkaline foods into her diet. Today she doesn’t eat meat or dairy, wheat or caffeine. Instead she loads up on veggies, fruit, juices and salads, as well as healthy grains, nuts and vitamins. “Disease  cannot  develop, live  or  survive  in  an  alkaline  environment.  Every  ache,  itch and pain is telling you that your body is too acid,” says Tanya.

“I call myself a nutritarian,” explains Tanya who hasn’t been ill once sine she made the shift in her diet. “I look for foods that offer the most nutrients – I’m not against chocolate, I love it – and it’s packed with antioxidants and flavanoids, but I pick the best raw cacao.”

I was keen to learn more about the benefits of going alkaline and also what you can and can’t eat. “Pork is the most acidic meat,” says Tanya. “And cheese is very acid, especially blue cheese. Sugar… and coffee and tea – caffeine’s so acidic.”

f5tbvyPp4JHRfx-640m

I feel smug. I tell her I drink decaf. She frowns apologetically. It turns out the process of taking out the caffeine (the bleaching and treating of the beans) make it just as bad, just with a different cause. “But you can make coffee alkaline – just add a slice of lemon to your coffee.”

Lemon?! I would have thought that was acidic, after all it’s full of citric acid. Wrong. It turns out that things that might be acidic in their natural state can still have an alkalising affect on the body.

So fruit (all fruit) and veg are in – the greener the veg, as a general rule, the more alkaline it will be. Spinach is the number one alkaline food, followed by kale, broccoli, cucumber, avocado… spot the trend?

tanyas

Keen to give it a go, I have been doing Tanya’s Raw Alkaline Cleanse for the last 48 hours. She promises it will be both juicy and raw and guaranteed to purify your body, skin and energy.

I was SO worried about being hungry and feeling weak, but actually that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sure, I haven’t felt full, but equally my tummy has not rumbled once. Not once! And I have been so busy drinking a juice every hour or two, or snacking on some nuts or kale wheatgrass crackers, that I haven’t had time to feel like I’m missing out. And there’s a raw organic soup, veggie sticks and tahini, probiotics and lots of water mixed with Tanya’s pH booster powder. I have to keep checking the chart to know what to eat or drink when!

static1.squarespace

The juices – cold-pressed and organic – taste simply delicious, from the green breakfast juice to  to a beetroot and berry lunch juice and an energising evening mango, carrot and orange juice. The soup is divine, even though it’s cold and raw. But the kale and wheatgrass crackers, filled with fibre to scrub out your insides? Vile. It was like eating silage. I actually couldn’t stomach the whole portion. And the pH water was like drinking pond water – thank goodness for the affirmation that you recite as you drink it “It is my divine right to be healthy”. I really had to tell myself that as I swigged it back!

But everything in the cleanse is there for a reason. Probiotics to increase your intestinal flora, chlorophyll to boost your pH levels from acid to alkaline, electrolytes to hydrate and calcium to nourish you.

I’ve just reached the end and I feel great. It’s got me hooked on cold pressed juice and I’m even planning to blend up my own morning green smoothie. Which, incidentally, is Tanya’s number one tip for making the change to raw, one smoothie at a time.

If you’re feeling sluggish, like your hormones might be out of whack, in pain, or worse – making the shift to alkaline might just be the first step to recovery.

READ THE RESULTS OF MY CLEANSE HERE.

ALISON TYLER

Try Tanya’s Alkaline Cleanse for one, two or three days, from £65, this January. She is also planning to run the programme intermitantly through the year.

Learn more about going alkaline and raw at on Tanya’s website Better Raw, where you’ll also find recipes and can sign up to one of her Raw Workshops.

 

My date with Deliciously Ella

Today I interviewed the gorgeous and utterly charming Ella Woodward, aka Deliciously Ella, whose blog has taken the internet – and the food world – by storm.

Incredibly, this proponent of clean living and eating is just 23 years old, and she’s no fad dieter either. Although she espouses the benefits of going wheat, dairy, refined sugar, meat and caffeine free, she discovered her strain of healthy eating after a debilitating illness.

Determined to make a difference, Ella decided to try and eat herself well after reading the inspirational story of Kris Carr, a stage four cancer sufferer who took matters into her own hands by radically changing what she put into her body. Ten years on she has kickstarted an eating revolution.

video211

Ella’s journey began three-and-a-half years ago when she binned her Haribo and crisp habit to embark on eating herself back to health. She literally chopped, blended and cooked her way to good health, vibrant energy, glowing skin, shiny hair and a fitter body.

She didn’t count calories or try to deprive herself of anything natural, she found natural sugars to sweeten dishes so that she could still enjoy brownies (sweet potato brownies) and chocolate cake (with raw cacao powder and beetroot), and she calms cravings with homemade date and almond bites.

An hour in her company was inspiring – I immediately headed to Sainsbury’s and spent £95 on nut milks, agave nectar, dates and brown rice.

cover-blog

Her book Deliciously Ella is released this week and is set to transform the way we eat. You only have to look at the supermarket “free from” aisle to see how the food industry is responding to our desire to eat cleaner, healthier food that is free from gluten and dairy.

I, for one,  can’t wait to try some of her sugar-busting ideas! I’ll let you know how I get on…

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 56
    She’s a food blogging sensation whose adventures in healthy, healing eating have attracted millions of loyal followers online, now 23-year-old Ella Woodward has released a cookbook, Deliciously Ella – a bible for living and eating well, it might just change your life I can spot Ella Woodward’s London flat even…
    Tags: ella, sweet, woodward, brownies, powder, food, raw, rice, brown, healthy
  • 40
    If you fell off the January diet wagon, there is a fail-safe solution. No need to shop or chop, these fully-prepared ready meals are all calorie-counted and come delivered to your door, so that you can slim like a celebrity Balance Box Choose from a 1200 calorie or 1800 calorie…
    Tags: £, food, dishes, healthy, calories, dairy, sugar, free, wheat, well
  • 36
    Cold-pressed juice What's hot this year? More like what's cold –cold-pressed, that is. Raw is a growing trend, but it's pretty hard-core to eat raw in winter, or all of the time. But the theory is that to preserve the most nutrients and vitamins, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, are…
    Tags: raw, eat, health, cake, well, sugar, powder, refined, food, wheat
  • 33
    This week I headed to St Katherine's Dock in London to new Japanese-Peruvian (aka Nikkei cuisine, which is the same as Nobu serves) eatery Amaru. It's small and a mix of take-out and eat-in food, but it's brilliant value (think £4-£6 a dish) and amazing quality. The miso soup was…
    Tags: £, eat, cake, chocolate, sweet, potato, eating, food, headed, week
  • 31
    We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. "Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here," asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5. I scoured the map.…
    Tags: food, hour, beetroot, well, clean, cooked, alison, tyler, trends, drink