Apple Crisps

Apples going spare? We seem to always have a glut in our house, so I did a little thinking and made a batch of apple crisps as a snack for the children. These children are now addicted to them. Good job that they’re super-easy to make, healthy as, well, apples, and cheaper than a bag of deep fried salty potatoes.

It’s nearly Christmas, so a dusting of aromatic cinnamon seemed only appropriate.

apple slices

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon

Method:

  1. Core your apples (although this isn’t essential if you can be bothered picking out the pips).
  2. Slice them thinly using a mandolin or a food processor. I cut them to 2mm thick to get a crisp result. Any thicker and they become chewy.
  3. Lay the slices out on a baking sheet making sure they don’t overlap.
  4. Dust them with cinnamon powder.
  5. Bake at 110°C fan (120°C conventional oven) for 25 minutes.
  6. Flip them over and bake for a further 20 minutes or until they’re perfectly crisp.

The crisps will store for a few days in an airtight container if you can resist them…

baked apple crisps

 

Must. Try. Harder.

Well, it’s finally out there. I know I should be jumping for joy to see it, but alas, although I haven’t even read it yet, the public reaction tells me that the UK Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy doesn’t hit the mark.

govt_strategy

 

I’ve had an opportunity to pore over it now, and here’s what I think.

Reading the introduction inspires me to go out for a run; this is serious stuff that we can’t ignore. More needs to be done to get the facts into the public domain and reinforce the severity in the minds of those not inclined to read Government strategy papers.

There’s absolute sense in what they state about long-term, sustainable change only being achievable through the active engagement of schools, communities, families and individuals. This is the core objective for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It follows the basic principles of change, as we must raise awareness, create the desire, and help people to understand what they can do to make a difference.

The sugar tax is a positive step, but is it enough? If I were a food manufacturer, I don’t think I’d be too worried about any of this..

I see a lot of wishy-washy wording that leaves plenty of room for localised interpretation. I would have liked to have seen some more decisive moves rather than merely ‘encouraging’ change with a limp carrot.

The plans around sport for schoolchildren are great, but I’m concerned that the mindset will become “I do lots of physical activity, so I can get away with eating whatever I want”. The balance is paramount, and if those affected don’t have a clear understanding, then what hope do they have?

In conclusion, I’m glad that we have this, but we had a real opportunity for transformational change, and I can’t help but feel terribly disappointed that we didn’t grab it with both hands and really capitalise on it.

As stated, the launch of this plan represents the start of a conversation, rather than the final word. I for one will be making sure that I’m involved in that conversation, will you?

 

World Food Programme Falafel

This month’s Food Revolution Challenge comes to us from the World Food Programme (WFP).

The FamilyChef Project shares recipes from around the world – it helps people to explore the culinary treasures and cooking abilities of refugees benefiting from WFP’s cash and vouchers (an initiative that enables individuals to buy the food they need to cook their traditional dishes).

Wherever you are in the world, food is a symbol of dignity and freedom. We’ve opened out our cookery series so that even more of the people we serve across the globe can share their wonderful recipes with you. So check out some of their traditional dishes, get cooking and don’t forget to share your culinary efforts with us on social media!

Take a look at http://www.wfp.org/cash-and-vouchers/familychef-recipes-field for further info.

So our June challenge is to cook one of these traditional dishes and share it; I went for the falafel as it’s something I utterly adore, yet have never actually cooked before. Obviously I’d have tried the Caterpillar Surprise if they’d been in season…

split peas and chick peas

falafel mixture

falafel

Falafel combo

There’s no question that this is going to be a regular feature in our household – I just adore the combination of falafel, houmous and chilli sauce.

There’s a number of different methods for making falefal, but Nurfel’s Syrian version has got to be the easiest.

Give it a whirl!

Superfood Cereal

Jamie Oliver recently published his ’10 recipes to save your life’ – if you can master these simple recipes, you can feed yourself and your family for the rest of your life. We’re bringing you easy twists on each of these recipes to extend your repertoire.

My twist on Jamie’s DIY Oaty Fruity Cereal is to guild it with delectable flourishes that are both stunningly beautiful, and wonderfully nutritious.

The basic cereal is ridiculously easy:

  • 100g dried fruit, such as sultanas, raisins, dried apricots
  • 50g mixed unsalted nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts
  • 50g mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy
  • 400g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Just roughly chop the nuts and dried fruit, give it all a mix, and serve with milk or natural yoghurt.

Now here’s my list of nutrient rich tweaks that you can pick and choose from to elevate this simple breakfast bowl. The health benefits of superfoods are much debated – above anything, these little treats are both interesting and tasty:

  1. Goldenberries – these are dried Physalis (Physalis peruviana) or as they’re also known, Cape Gooseberries, Ground Cherry or Capuli. High in iron and fibre, they’re both tart and sweet.
  2. Bee Pollen – tiny little pollen pellets that have been packed by worker honeybees!
  3. White Mulberries – (Moras alba) – Delicious dried fruits and a good source of protein, fibre, iron, vitamin C and K.
  4. Blueberries – or ‘star berries’ as the Native Americans called them. Rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins from their blue colour, they truly are a star of the fruit world.
  5. Cacao Nibs – the basis of chocolate without the dairy or sugar added, these are simply smashed up cacao beans. (Note that Cocoa has been processed further at a higher temperature).
  6. Coconut shavings – containing lauric and caprylic acids, the fruit of the ‘tree of life’ acts as a natural antibiotic.
  7. Goji Berries – also known as Wolfberries, they are dense in minerals and contain selenium, vitamin C, B2 and A, iron and polysaccharides (antioxidant). These berries have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Give it a mix, add your milk or yoghurt and enjoy the variety!

Winter, my 5-year-old daughter, thoroughly enjoys creating her own “bowl of deliciousness” as she calls it, raiding all the kilner jars and balancing her breakfast just how she likes it.

superfood cereal mix

Mélange Salad

This recipe fills me with joy. Simple and rustic, yet so beautifully elegant, filling, nutritious and satisfying at the same time. It has its roots in France and brings out the best of ‘whatever you have available’. You could call it a spin on the classic Salade Niçoise or Provençal, or even a Mesclun.. it all depends what you have at your fingertips and how you’re feeling. I call it a Melange, a beautiful medley; an array of colours and a variety of shapes and textures.

Jamie brought us a simple green salad with lemon dressing, and this is my twist for the Food Revolution.

These are the basic ingredients that never fail to put a smile on my face:

  • Green beans, blanched
  • Egg, boiled and halved
  • Grated anything: carrot, turnip, beetroot, cheese
  • Leaves – I like baby gem, lambs lettuce or romaine
  • Finely sliced onion, red or white
  • Radish, sliced
  • Fresh herbs
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Why not pop a few croutons on – you can’t be perfect all the time..

It’s all about variety. Now plate up and dress just before serving.

Dressing

Three parts oil to one part acid is perfect. Try this one on for size:

(for 1 person)

  • 60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 20ml White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

My preferred method is to pop it all in a jam jar and give it a good old shake.

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