Emily Watkins

Chef Proprietor of the award-winning Kingham Plough, Emily Watkins, kindly took time out of her bustling Cotswold pub kitchen last night to demonstrate three of her favourite grain recipes to a room full of eager Whole Foods customers.

Part of the ‘Eat Real Food’ series, this class was laid on as a special event, with all proceeds going to the Whole Kids Foundation which admirably educates local children and families in healthy eating and nutrition.

Emily inspired and captivated the room with tips and tricks interspersed with stories from her fascinating career, training in male-dominated Italian kitchens and working under Heston Blumenthal at Bray’s Fat Duck. Majoring on under-used yet beautifully delicious grains, we had the joy of experiencing how a professional chef glides around the kitchen and improvises to deliver perfect dishes with minimal fuss.

Courgette ‘Spaghetti’ with Millet, Preserved Lemon and Pesto, Heritage Tomato and Pinhead Oatmeal Risotto with a Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil Salad, and Fava Bean and Smoked Bacon Casserole… yes please. Oh how we wished we’d skipped our earlier dinner though.

 

Sourcing gorgeous ingredients from the store, Emily lectured on a concept that’s dear to my heart: “a recipe is just an idea”. You’ve got to approach cooking with an open mind and evolve recipes to suit you and your family – there’s no need to freak out when you’re missing an ingredient, trust your initiative and substitute or simply omit.

If you’re cooking seasonally with stunningly fresh local ingredients, simplicity is king.

Good on you Emily, you’re a Food Revolution hero.

AHL and Emily

 

Food Revolution Day 2016

As we head towards Food Revolution Day 2017 (FRD) on Friday 19th May, I want to reflect on how awesome last year’s events were.

What a day it was. The stats build year on year, and we’re seeing the revolution gaining ground as the key messages propagate around the world from person to person and community to community.

Jamie’s Facebook Live broadcast reached an astonishing 115 million people, and we saw over 700,000 people become revolutionaries by signing up to the Food Revolution Hub.

Our ambassadors and supporters ran thousands of events all over the world and Jamie shared ’10 recipes to save your life’; learn how to cook these, and you can feed yourself, and your family, for the rest of your life. Along with 9 other writers, I published twists on each of these recipes to show how easy it is to build on these basic recipes and broaden your repertoire to 100 nutritious dishes.

I took a couple of the recipes into Felix’s primary school, St James’ C of E, and spent the day cooking up a storm with the younglings. We had muchos fun with the DIY Oaty Fruity Cereal before making the Simple Houmous. SO EASY, yet so delicious and nutritious. Seriously, they couldn’t get enough.

The younger children in reception loved the classic ‘Identify and Try’ class with a variety of fruits and vegetables. They were so good at giving everything a go.

I have to add that none of this would have been possible without the kind donations from Whole Foods Market Cheltenham who supplied literally everything we needed from their selection of beautiful organic products. We’re so grateful.

 

And it didn’t stop there – Jane Gearing and our wonderful friends and Waitrose Cheltenham kindly ran a class for Dunally Primary School as well, cooking lovely little wholemeal flatbreads with pepper dippers and sugar snap peas, along with the simple houmous recipe above. The children were taught how to make their own bread dough and learnt about how to cut safely using the bridge and claw methods. Jayne, Emma and the team talked to the children about healthy diets and the importance of trying new and different foods, a subject they work into all of their classes in the onsite cookery school. Good on you Waitrose, we salute you.

wholemeal flatbreads

Here’s a little statistic for you that will give you an insight into why this year’s campaign is so important to us: “70% of three-year-olds recognise the McDonald’s symbol, but only half know their own surname…..”

Watch this space..

Food Revolution Day 2017

Tasty Tuesday

Wowzers Whole Foods.. you need to charge more. £5 for five tasty little dishes with wine is just crazy – no wonder your 100 tickets sell out so quickly.

Whole Foods Market Cheltenham put on a special evening event every second Tuesday of the month, where each department in the store competes against each other for your votes and team kudos.

£5! What a great idea. I love being able to get the low-down from the experts behind the counter whilst sampling what they’ve created from the surrounding shelves. The store is open at the same time (handy if it just happens to be Valentines Day and you’ve got to shoot home to make dinner for your loved one…).

whole foods market tasty tuesday

My vote went to the Meat and Fish gang for their sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce, roasted butternut squash, rocket and lambs lettuce.

sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce

Delicious. See you next month!

Food Revolution Day ’15

Friday 15th May 2015 was a cracker. Last year was epic, this year was better.  With even more people joining in the fight for food education around the world, the message is really starting to sink in and get traction.

Planning started a while back and provided the opportunity to engage more broadly across the community. Thanks to the admirable philosophy and wonderful generosity of our friends at Whole Foods Market in Cheltenham, we managed to orchestrate a great day for the children of St. James’ Primary School, have some fun, and pass on some vital food education skills.

Whole Foods Cheltenham sponsorship

The guys at Whole Foods really outdid themselves; we had the most beautiful ingredients to play with and the children were super-impressed. We literally wouldn’t have been able to run the class without them.

Freshly baked rolls from WFM

assorted apples

Stunning hey!

So. After an early pick-up my little helper and I headed to the school and met the children. 30 11-year-olds greeted us with smiling faces and numerous (intelligent) questions and the odd “Have you met Jamie Oliver?”…

Alas we couldn’t play the cook-along video the big man recorded or even the catchy music video due to standard school restrictions on social media sites, but thankfully our thoughtful and resourceful teacher Sarah Wagstaff had made contingency plans and printed the recipe cards. Colour no less!

What’s that? Music video? … Ed Sheeran, Hugh Jackman, Professor Green, Alesha Dixon, Jamie Cullum, George The Poet, Paul McCartney … What the what what! #respect

Making the Sandwich

Did we make a mess? Yes. Did we learn anything? Yes. Did we have fun? Yes. Were the children awesome? Yes!

Highlight? Squashing!!!

Boshing the Squash-It Sandwich

We walked through the recipe in stages with each ingredient and ended with a room full of satisfied customers. It’s fair to say that everyone was rather surprised at just how tasty this little sandwich is.

My personal highlight was watching my 4-year-old daughter Winter demonstrate how to pod peas to the class. Bless.

Winter Podding Peas

Great work from Jamie’s Food Foundation on developing a recipe that was so accessible to the masses, fun to make and delicious to boot!

The Finished Product

tucking into the Squash-It Sandwich

Ella and Winterahl

The foundations are in place, now lets keep building; every day is Food Revolution Day.

Visit www.foodrevolutionday.com and get that petition signed!

#foodrevolutionday