Little Fish From The Garden

Peixinhos da horta or ‘little fish from the garden’; a tempting little treat. The recipe is Portuguese in origin and interestingly the precursor to the world renowned Japanese tempura. Who’d have thought.

One of our lovely Food Revolution ambassadors, Cátia Albino, shared this recipe with me and it’s been a real winner in our household ever since.

The concept is remarkably simple. Make a thin batter, blanch some green beans, dip and fry. We’ve even tried a gluten free version using rice flour and the results are equally pleasing.

Ingredients:

  • handful of green beans (about 200g)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt & pepper (twist of each)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 200ml water

Method:

  1. Make your batter – just whisk the ingredients together.
  2. Dip your green beans in the batter and then deep fry your ‘little fish’ until they turn beautifully golden. (It’s advisable not to overcrowd the pan/fryer so you may want to cook them in batches).
  3. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve. (pair with white wine for utter bliss).

gorgeous Peixinhos da horta

I like to enjoy them with a spicy tomato chilli sauce:

little fish (green beans) with chilli tomato sauce

Happy days!

 

Peixinhos da horta

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.

HipstamaticPhoto-487974177.805937

Reflecting on FRD2014

I was appointed as a Food Revolution Ambassador a mere 10 days before the big event on 16 May 2014. I still remember exactly how I felt receiving that email – simply overjoyed. And then it hit me… what am I actually going to do?!
A few days later I’d secured a slot with my son’s primary school, St James’ in Cheltenham – the relief I was feeling after getting a gig for Food Revolution Day was mixed with bouts of panic as I fretted about what I was actually going to do on the day.. Thankfully, the Ambassador’s Facebook pages are filled with helpful folk and fantastic ideas.
The message for the 2014 campaign was that “We need every child to understand where food comes from, how to cook it, and how it affects their body. This is about setting kids up with the knowledge they need to make better food choices for life.
I settled on something simple yet effective and chose to take a selection of fruits, herbs and vegetables in to do a little ‘Show & Tell’ for the reception children. I hoped to relay key messages about seasonality, healthy eating and balance. Did I forget that there were 2 reception classes? Maybe. Was I slightly overwhelmed having 60 eager 5-year-olds sitting in front of me? No comment.
Selection of fruits, vegetables and herbs
Alas, it was the most brilliant and enlightening of experiences. The children were engaging and intrigued, enthusiastic and seriously switched-on! They looked, touched, smelled and identified before jumping at the opportunity to taste. I had to enrol the teachers to help with cutting as we just couldn’t keep up!
Teaching the children
I foraged some Wild Garlic from next to the stream on the walk to the school thinking that they’ll definitely learn something new here.. How wrong was I! “Oh yes Alex, they’re Ramsons – we have them in the garden at home”… Unbelievable. Big tick for that little girl’s parents.
Wild Garlic
An hour flew by and I wished that we’d had more time. Great kids, great attitude and lovely feedback. #exhausted (but thinking about what we can do next).
Note to self; look for local sponsorship to cover the costs next time. What to do with all these offcuts and leftovers?
Voilà!
using leftovers
This year, Food Revolution Day will be held on May 15th and I can’t wait to get involved. The campaign is focussing on making practical food education compulsory in all schools. Have a look at www.foodrevolutionday.com, sign the petition and support the movement.

Meat Free Week

Meat Free Week 2015 is upon us. Monday 23rd March marks the start of a global challenge to simply forgo meat for one week to get us all thinking about our dietary choices. As Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassadors, we’re fully supporting the movement.

This isn’t a drive to promote vegetarianism, it’s an awareness event to highlight the impact that eating too much meat has on the environment, animal welfare and your health.

Initially, I was hesitant – a week without any meat at all? This really might be a challenge, but the more I think about it, our family probably only really eats meat three times a week anyway.

If it were just Monday to Friday it’d be easy, but the thought of a weekend without some form of big special meal… Hang on, there are thousands of great meat-free dishes that would fit the bill.

The excitement is building. Who doesn’t like a challenge? We’ve bought a vast array of vegetables, herbs, fruits and cheeses to eat. I’m most excited about trying new things and broadening my repertoire.

How ironic that I’m using a Donald Russell styrofoam meat delivery box to store my plethora of ingredients for the week! (I only have a small fridge).

Meat Box as a mini fridge

Meat deliveries are a bit of a revolution for my family as we are making that concious choice to swap quantity for quality. It feels good, it certainly tastes good, and importantly, we’re spending the same amount of money each month.

As we want to make the most of what we have and avoid waste, I’m going to formulate a menu plan for the week.

So far it looks like this:

  • Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Italian Aubergine Bake)
  • Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
  • Chickpea Burgers
  • Beetroot and Goats Cheese Risotto
  • Pissaladière (without anchovies of course)
  • Portobello Mushroom and Halloumi burgers
  • Squash and Chickpea Chilli
  • Any combination of vegetable noodle dishes, Pad Thai, Nasi Goreng..
  • Something with Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Kerala Egg Curry… THE LIST GOES ON.

They’ll be plenty of blog posts, comment and updates on new dishes throughout the week via social media. I’m anticipating herby flourishes, experimentation and tips for packing-in bags of flavour to make vegetable dishes really sing.

One step at a time for some people – Meat Free Monday? Make it a weekly ritual and you’ll never look back.

For more information, tips and recipes, check out:

https://uk.meatfreeweek.org/home or https://meatfreeweek.org/home in Australia

http://www.jamieoliver.com/meat-free-week/

Give it a go, I’m confident you’ll surprise yourself.