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25 Apr

Don’t Run on Empty.

I’m always keen to take various measures to try and curb my cake intake, decline wine and swap in salad. So far I’ve tried a Dri-eting, #Gymuary and now it’s London Health Week so I’ve no excuse.

I’ve even got a nifty discount #LHW15 wristband to keep me on the straight and narrow and by that, I mean it’s something other than simply willing my hips to stop expanding. This week I’ve been welcoming all the offers they’ve got with open (albeit always in need of a bit more tone) arms.

London’s Health Week is here to highlight local London companies whose products and services benefit wellness and can easily fit into our lifestyle; Foods you can order now that don’t compromise on taste and nutrition. There’s also a whole host of local activities with trial offers.

Armed with their handy little guide, (which can also be found on www.londonhealthweek.co.uk) it’s filled with offers including a whopping 30% discount  from us at the Greenwich Pantry where you can treat yourself healthy.

In this heaving, busy and beautifully chaotic city it’s easy to make excuses not to be healthy, run on empty calories even, but we’re lucky enough to live in an incredibly diverse city where access to a plethora of different healthy foods are never more than a hop, skip and a jump away. In London we’ve also the most open green space in a metropolitan area in Europe. Right, wheres my jump rope?

At Greenwich Pantry, as a special treat, we’re extending the 30% off-offer to our marvellous little Pop-Up shop which runs from Thursday 30th April until Saturday 1st of May, so you can stock up for the Bank Holiday weekend on items that are deliciously discounted.

Pick up highly effective, packed full of nutrients Aurospirul AV Supergreens Power (£6.26*). Rehydrate with Chi Coconut Water (£1.12*) or impress after-dinner guests with EqualiTea Cassablanca Dream Tea (£5.53*). We’ve bundles of healthy treats too; like the low-fat all about enjoyment, Healthy Pack-a-Snack Bundle containing  Emily Fruit Crisps, Little Miracles Goji Berry, Acai and Cherry White Tea and much more.

Healthy Pack-a-snack-Bundle

Healthy Pack-a-Snack-Bundle

 

Whilst it’s beautifully temperate to take a walk in the Spring sunshine we can also include a bit more exercise in our day, but hey why not make a day of it and pack a picnic? Visit the beautiful Greenwich Park after seeing us at our Pop-Up Shop. The lovely range from Rice DK would be great to take along  for a pretty picnic, too.

Blue Rice DK designs will bowl you over.

Blue Rice DK designs will bowl you over.

Healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Being fit as a fiddle doesn’t have to mean dieting and getting in good kilter doesn’t have to near kill you. Being healthy and happy on the inside and out is wildly different to simply restricting yourself.  I think of GP Lara’s mantra of “balance-balance-balance”.

We can look after our health holistically more than ever before. If you are an active bunny or need nutrition post workout, I like to gnaw on Bounce Almond Energy Balls that banish hunger and fatigue giving you the fuel you need to keep going. I’m thinking of you, super-humans running the London Marathon this Sunday. We’ll be cheering you on as you pass us in Greenwich tomorrow!  The very best of luck to you!

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26 Jan

The Dr-iet. You’re in the home stretch.

Come on, you can do it! You’re in the home stretch. By the end of the week it’ll be a new month. No more being a slave to dry-January and the latest combination/elimination or de-socialisation diet. It’ll be so-long to the season of the Dr-iet.

Whilst it’s necessary to tighten our belts in a notch, being sensible has never really been sexy has it. Or is a little of what you fancy does you good; the answer? I’m a mean moderator of moderation, gifted with being thrifty and must admit I’ve caved for a bit of cake and left over Cava here and there, but my answer this month is making treats transform. Yes, happiness has been leftovers.

If you had some delicious and traditional roast beef on Sunday, I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s no greater joy than cold sliced beef sandwiches with lashings of sunny yellow mustard to make a Monday, or even a Tuesday if you have an ounce of January’s restraint left. I love to endure the savage sinus singeing hot stuff and Greenwich Pantry dost kindly provide * (Tattoo drum roll please)… winner of a world sauce award and especially piquant; Uncle Roy’s Rabbie’s Burnie Mustard and since it was Burns Night just this weekend, I’d like to pipe on, that it is not only fiery and flavoursome, but it’s wheat and gluten free too.

Now, straying on the subject of celebrations; Happy ‘Straya Day to our Antipodean friends and I’ve learned they’ve more love for the lamb Down Under.

So, if lamb roast is what you love most, perhaps that lamb on the bone was slow to go? If so, tear that meat from the bone.

  • Caramelise some roughly diced onions and garlic.
  • If you’ve leftover roast veg; say carrots, dice what’s left and add a bit of extra veg if it’s at the bottom of the fridge, forgotten like a shopping trolley in a duck pond, (I always buy fennel and celery and forget to use it, this is a great reviver for bendy celery.) dice that too and add it with the meat to the sweet smelling onions.
  • Then to make a satisfying tangy stew, I sprinkle over a couple of generous handfuls of peppery Puy Lentils.
  • Add tinned chopped tomatoes and a rinsed tin full of water to just cover it all and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season to taste and et voilà!

‘Puy’ is also the Provençal word for volcanic hill. So in keeping with the spirit of things, I’m sure you’ll erupt with gladness with this dish and if you’ve been virtually virtuous so far this month, perhaps a 2010 Barossa Red would go down nicely, especially if you are celebrating today.

Now,  thinking back along the lines of a cinched in waist; we’re back to tightening that belt remember and there is still room to stretch it out. No, not you. It’s not back to the box set and the sofa yet. I meant stretching out the left overs. Hark, you’ve got no leftovers left you say? Well to exercise my most tasty advice, the stubborn pots aren’t the only things that need to be left to soak. I bathe them bones, either low in a slow cooker all night or you can simmer them low on the stove for a few hours whilst you catch up on the latest crime thriller. You’ll have a thrilling stock for sure. This is the very starting point for the thriftiest and quickest of midweek dishes; risottos, healthy soups and can be frozen for gravy next week.

More from me on #MeatMonday later.

Hope it’s all Gravy with you!

;  )

Spice up lacklustre leftovers

Spice up lacklustre leftovers

 

*A Grace Before Dinner, Extempore. Robert Burns.

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17 Nov

Beat Stress, Bake Bread!

Apparently today is ‘National Bread Making Day’.

Ok, if you’re the type to roll your eyes at the likes of silly days such as National Only Eat Tomatoes Day/ Have Burgers for Breakfast Day or my personal favourite happening on the 15th July, a long wait away until Summertime next year (*sighs*): Piña Colada Day. Or the countless number of other marketed ‘Food Days’, then FYI- today is also National Take a Hike Day and if you think these ideas (yes most from across the pond) are silly, then ok, I will.

However, why not counter your daily stresses and take out your frustrations on some flour?

I find that there’s nothing more balancing, zen inducing and stress relieving than baking bread.

I must admit, I haven’t always been a huge success at baking. On a previous attempt, trying to be virtuous and both fibre and flavour conscious, I tried to use a complete spelt mix and must admit I completely stupendously #bakefail failed. The loaf sounded hollow when I came to give it that satisfying final tap, but the cooled lump fooled me, proving it was nothing but an inedible weapon.

Still nothing ventured, nothing gained and having experimented more, I can share with you this recipe that after few experiments, produced a beautiful light and malty loaf. (If you like less of a rich malty flavour and doughy texture, you could omit the Rye flour and use 125g more Wholemeal Spelt Flour together with 125g more of the Farmhouse Brown Strong Wheat Flour.

Today I came home to my beau, the bonny bearded expert baker in my household, having spent the afternoon flexing his muscles teasing the glorious gluten out of some Gilchesters Organics flours and he baked this gorgeous loaf with this yummy recipe.

Dry Ingredients

  1. 250g 100% Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  2. 350g Farmhouse Brown Strong wheat flour
  3. 250g Rye Flour

Wet Ingredients

  1. 14g yeast (2 packets of the quick to mix store cupboard kind)
  2. a blob of natural yogurt

Method

1. (If you have an airing cupboard or a proving cupboard, skip this step) Turn the oven on to the lowest setting, about 30 degrees, it should only be a comfortable warm temperature. Place a saucer of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to add a touch of moisture to the atmosphere.

2. Mix the flours in a big mixing bowl, if you have a dough mat, pour the flour out in a heap in the centre of it, or of course on to a hygienically cleansed dry work surface

3. Separately liven up the yeast in a jug with about 225ml of warm water

4. Create a well in the flour adding the liquid little by little, then add a blob of the natural yogurt.

5. Get kneading! Think of your to do lists, that person that nudged you on the tube and didn’t appologise, that car that drove past you splashing you with an arc of muddy rain. Go on, let it out. Release that tension! It’s hard work so make sure to do some neck stretches every so often, circle your head from shoulder to shoulder. Then keep on cathartically kneading for about 15 minutes. The dough should be tacky so that it sticks to your fingers, but no so much you cannot knead it. You’re aiming to hydrate the flour just enough to release the chewy glutens. As you work the dough, the idea is that the grains will absorb the moisture and part from your fingers.

6. Lightly flour the bread tin before carefully thwacking the conquered dough into it’s bed to prove in a moist oven for about an hour and a half to 2 hours, this particular loaf, didn’t double but almost triple in size. Some bakers knead after the prove, but this one was simply scored across the top and put into a hot oven on 180 degrees (ours is a fan oven, so set to 200 degrees if using an electric/gas oven) for about an hour, until it’s golden brown.

A springy doorstep slice, a wall of wheat and spelt ready to be slathered in butter.

A springy doorstep slice, a wall of wheat and spelt ready to be slathered in butter.

The result was a house heavenly perfumed with the cozy anticipation of sliced bread with Jam, slices to be lightly toasted, buttered and dunked into comforting hearty warming soups or hunks just ripped right off to be gobbled with cheese and pickles. This enormous endorphin releasing loaf should last, so long as I don’t keep picking at it.

For other great recipes have a look at Gilchesters recipe pages

Try having a go at baking yourselves and tell us all about it at the Greenwich Pantry pop-up shop on Saturday 29th November!

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