fbpx
was successfully added to your cart.

Cart

Kitchen Equipment Recommendations

Guide:

Kitchen Equipment Recommendations

Over the years, I’ve found these items extremely useful and reliable. Even so, they are not 100% necessary for these recipes and are just my recommendations. You can very well use the tools you already have in your kitchen, that serve the same designated purpose.

A blender

The Vitamix Aspire Blender:

Vitamix (affiliate link)

The Vitamix is one of those products that I use pretty much each and every day because it’s so versatile! It’s perfect for smoothies, soups, purees, cheesecakes, cauliflower rice, energy ball mixes, you name it (and the occasional cocktail, too!).

The super-speed blender looks pretty awesome on the counter and works its magic on so many various ingredients that I often find myself looking upon it as a personal challenge to see what it can’t help with. Another bonus for me is it being portable enough to take with me on retreats, or wherever my work takes me, as it does the job of so many different products in one. Oh, and you won’t believe how easy it is to clean – yet it is! As I don’t have time to spend hours on fiddly bits and pieces and also because, as we all know, cleaning up is the least popular part of cooking, this fantastic blender fits in perfectly with my busy schedule!

I mentioned earlier how versatile my Vitamix is – the main reason why I said it are its interchangeable jugs/containers that can be suited to any task you require, whether it be portion size, or wet and dry ingredients.

Now, the Vitamix is not the cheapest blender in the world, let’s be honest. Starting at £400, I agree it’s something easy to consider a luxury purchase, but I prefer to consider it an investment and let me tell you why. Many of my favourite recipes which I most often recommend and include in my own diet too are about a lot of grinding nuts and other heavy ingredients that can cause a lot of ware and tear quite quickly. The Vitamix may be more expensive, but buy cheap, buy twice – it’s what I like to say. Nevertheless, there are other affordable blenders, easy to fit in any budget. One of them is…

The NutriBullet or Nutri Ninja:

Nutri Bullet (affiliate link)

There are plenty of blenders on the market, and most of them will do a good job of mixing ingredients. However, there are huge differences in how thoroughly blenders break down ingredients. Those designed to break through even the smallest and hardest ingredients will turn out the smoothest smoothies. These blenders also help unlock vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3s) that have been trapped within the cell walls of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

The Vitamix, one of the most established blender brands out there, has become famous for its high-powered motor and laser-cut blades that can turn even the most fibrous ingredients into a healthy concoction with an exceptionally smooth, velvety texture. While NutriBullet’s 600-watt motor is small, compared to the motors of most Vitamix blenders, it can provide serious competition to the Vitamix blenders when it comes to creating the smoothest smoothies. The NutriBullet system features patented extractor blades which, together with a motor equipped with cyclonic action, are enough to turn even heartier vegetables and ice into smooth drinks full of fiber and vitamins.

NutriBullet blenders are also amazing because they take up so little space on the counter in the kitchen. For how compact they are they are pretty amazing.

A good set of knives that are sharp and comfortable to use

Victorianox (affiliate link)

Some home chefs can get really into knives and go really overboard with them. You don’t need to go crazy and spend an absolute fortune to get a good set of high quality, sharp chefs knives.

I highly recommend a great brand called Victorianox. They are cheap and really really amazing. I have actually still got my first ever Victorianox chefs knives and it’s still going strong 12 years on. They are great, they stay sharp for a long time, are very easy to sharpen, comfortable and long lasting. Couldn’t ask for more and you can pick up a 5 knives set for around £50. Wow!

A peeler

There are so many uses for the simple vegetable peeler.

The obvious: peeling veg. But I also use it for ribboning for salads – come to think about it, so much of my salad prep is done with a peeler! You can also get julienne peelers if you want a finer cut for salads.

My Peeler (affiliate link) 

Julienne Peeler (affiliate link)

Chopping board

A decent thick chopping board is a must-have. Either made of wood or thick plastic so that i doesn’t bow in the dishwasher and ideally some rubber feet on the bottom so that it doesn’t slide around your worktop. My most recent favourite for home use is the bamboo chopping board.

Bamboo Chopping Board (affiliate link)

Grater

This is a must for those rostis and fritters that you are going to be making right after this lesson ends. It’s a real good way of speeding up your food prep.

Grater (affiliate link)

These items will equip you well throughout this course and beyond. And now, let’s have some proper fun in the kitchen!

Cooking and Reheating Rice

Guide:

Cooking and Reheating Rice

The Food Standards Agency explains: “It’s not actually the reheating that’s the problem – it’s the way the rice has been stored before reheating.”

COOKING AND REHEATING RICE

The Food Standards Agency explains: “It’s not actually the reheating that’s the problem – it’s the way the rice has been stored before reheating.”

Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus Cereus, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. These spores can survive when rice is cooked and if left standing at room temperature, the spores can grow into bacteria. These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhea. The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria or toxins could make the rice unsafe to eat.

The good news is it’s easy to be avoided. There are steps you can take in order to ensure you don’t encounter harmful bacteria. Mainly, it’s down to how the rice was stored after being cooked for the first time.

If rice is left standing at room temperature after it’s been boiled, those spores might become damaging bacteria, which produce toxins that cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.

After cooking rice, it’s best to eat it soon after (you don’t have to be neurotic about it, though, but it’s wise to bare this in mind). Any rice leftover should be cooled quickly – but not in the fridge. The NHS recommends doing so within an hour. After it’s cooled, you can then put your rice in the fridge and it’ll be fine for a day or so.

As for the question of reheating rice… Like any cooked food, rice should be ‘steaming hot’ after reheating and shouldn’t be reheated more than once.

Key Takeaways:

– Ideally serve rice as soon as it has been cooked.
– If that isn’t possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (within 1 hour).
– Keep rice in the fridge for no more than 1 day until reheating.
– When you reheat any rice, always check the dish is steaming hot all the way through.
– Do not reheat rice more than once.

Cutting Out Sugar

Guide:

Cutting Out Sugar

The average adult eats much more sugar than necessary, so reducing added sugar intake is a good idea. Some people take it a step further and cut sugar entirely out of their diet.

CUTTING OUT SUGAR

As I consider sugar to have become one of the biggest dangers to our health, I find it crucial to address the problem in depth.

The average adult eats incredibly much more sugar than their body actually needs, exposing it to serious health problems in a short, medium and long term. Therefore, reducing added sugar intake is becoming mandatory. Some people take it a step further and cut sugar entirely out of their diet, which is not a bad idea at all and actually not that difficult to achieve, either, if you know some useful tips.

The no-sugar diet has gained popularity as people look for effective ways to stay healthy or lose weight, but don’t think of it as a diet, but more of a way of life. Eventually, everything that matters relating food will revolve around eating natural and unprocessed foods, it’s started already!

Why to reduce or cut out sugar?

– Eating too much sugar has been linked to an increased risk of conditions including diabetes and heart disease.

– Most adults eat much more sugar than recommended. The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimate that American adults get 15 percent of calories in their diet from added sugars alone. This sugar intake does not even include natural sugars found in products such as fruit and milk.

– Excessive sugar consumption is linked to numerous health conditions, including:

– Obesity and metabolic syndrome

– Heart disease

– Type 1 and 2 diabetes

– High blood pressure and cholesterol

– Chronic inflammation

– Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

– Dental plaque and cavities

Reducing the amount of sugar in the diet can help reduce the risks for these conditions. Replacing sugary foods with alternatives can help a person receive their essential vitamins and minerals. It may also help a person lose weight and be healthier all round.

Helpful tips to help you reduce or gradually cut out refined sugars in your diet:

  1. Take it slow

One of the most important things to consider when changing the diet is to do so gradually. Going from a diet full of sugar to one containing no sugar should be a slow process.

It may help to start by eliminating the most obvious sources of sugar. Baked goods, such as cakes, muffins, and brownies, can easily be avoided. Eliminating candy and sugary beverages is an excellent place to start, also.

A person can also try reducing the amount of sugar and cream they put in their coffee or tea, gradually omitting it completely. Working up to a no-sugar diet can help retrain the palate, so a person does not crave the missing sugar.

  1. Read labels

Once a person has managed to cut out the most obvious sugar from their diet, they can turn their attention to other products that contain sugar. Reading labels can help identify types of sugars to avoid.

Sugar has many names and is in many different syrups and concentrates. In fact there are at least 61 different names for sugar on food labels. A simple trick is to become familiar with the products and nutritional information on the products.

The most common various names for sugar include:

– Cane sugar or brown sugar

– Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup

– Evaporated cane juice

– Invert sugar

– Beet sugar

– Coconut sugar

– Maple syrup

– Agave syrup

– Rice syrup

– Apple or grape juice concentrate

– Honey

– Demerara

– Sucanat

– Panela or piloncillo

– Turbinado

– Muscovado

You should also be aware that anything ending in the suffix “-ose” is also a type of sugar.

Examples of this include:

– Sucrose

– Glucose

– Dextrose

– Fructose

– Lactose

Sugars hide in many different foods in the supermarket, so reading the label is an absolute must for those wanting to follow a no-sugar diet. Even products such as salad dressing and condiments, pasta sauce, breakfast cereals, milk, and granola bars often have sugar in their ingredients list.

  1. Avoid simple carbs

Many no-sugar diets also recommend that people avoid simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs include white flour, white pasta, and white rice.

The carbohydrates in these foods can be quickly broken down into sugar in the body, which may cause the blood sugar levels to spike. A person can replace simple carbs with wholegrain options.

  1. Avoid artificial sugars

Artificial sugars are a subject of controversy in the diet industry. They are much sweeter than sugar but contain little or no calories.

However, eating artificial sugars can trick the body into thinking it is actually eating sugar. This can exacerbate a person’s sugar cravings, making it more difficult for them to stick to a no-sugar diet.

A person on a no-sugar diet should avoid artificial sugars, including:

– Splenda

– Stevia

– Equal

– Nutrasweet

– Sweet’N Low

Be sure to look for the chemical names of these sweeteners in ingredients lists, especially in anything marketed as a low-sugar, low-calorie, or diet food.

These include:

– Aspartame

– Sucralose

– Saccharin

– Acesulfame k or acesulfame potassium

– Neotame

  1. Do not drink sugar

Sugar may be fairly easy to avoid in processed foods but sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda, specialty coffees, sweetened teas and fruit juices are some of the most significant sources of added sugars in the diet.

Replacing these drinks with unsweetened herbal tea, coffee without sugar, sparkling mineral water, or just plain water can help a person reduce their sugar intake and stay hydrated.

  1. Focus on whole foods

A person on a no-sugar diet can also aim to eat 100 percent whole foods. Processed foods are more likely to contain refined ingredients or added sugars.

A diet with a focus on eating whole and complete foods will be rich in:

– Vegetables

– Fruits

– Tofu

– Fish

– Whole, unprocessed grains and legumes

– Nuts and seeds

  1. Plan the meals

When you plan your meals, it forces you to think about what you are making and the ingredients you will be using. When hunger strikes, a person may be more likely to reach for that unhealthy snack if they do not have nutritious meals and snacks to hand or are hungry when shopping. Bulk making and freezing your food is a great way to avoid this.

Many people take a day to do both their shopping and meal preparation for the entire week. With food at the ready, they are less tempted to reach for a sweet snack or drink.

  1. Spice it up

The palate often misses sugar because it has no other flavours to replace it with. Many sweet-tasting herbs and spices can easily be added to food and drink to replace sugar.

Common replacements include cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla. These can be added to coffee or sprinkled on top of oats or yogurt.

How can reducing or cutting out sugar from your diet benefit you?

Eliminating added sugars and maintaining a diet rich in whole foods has many benefits for the body.

Reducing sugar intake and eating a healthy diet may help people:

– Lose weight and prevent obesity

– Have more energy throughout the day

– Have clearer skin

– Avoid mood swings

– Reduce inflammation

– Reduce the risk of digestive conditions

– Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes

Including whole fruits in a no-sugar diet can still be good, as long as a person eats fruit in moderation.

Remember to be moderate!

Eliminating sugar from the diet should not be seen as a complete solution for weight loss. It is a part of a lifestyle change that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet.

As mentioned earlier, those embarking on a no-sugar diet plan should do so gradually. However, another way of reducing sugar could be to even eat sugar on special occasions, which may help some people cope with the loss of sweetness in their diet.

Overall, cutting back on sugar is a good idea for everyone, as it helps reduce the risk of numerous conditions and can improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing.

Seasoning

Guide:

Seasoning:

Seasonings enhances the flavours in food and adds complementary tastes to enhance the eating experience.

Seasonings enhance the flavours in food and add complementary tastes to enhance the eating experience. I’m all about the natural flavor of food, it’s what I try to focus most in creating my dishes. I like my food to taste how it is supposed to, so when it comes to seasoning, I keep things at a minimum.

The two most fundamental and widely used spices are salt and pepper. Typically, what people think of when speaking of salt and pepper is white, granulated salt and pre-ground black pepper, but these are far from the only kinds of salt and pepper that exist.

Salt:

Rock salt is a great salt variation, the larger crystals carry a punch. Sea salt is cherished by many as a more natural, culinary salt. There’s also Kosher, iodised, pickling and black salt, amongst many more.

My absolute favourite is Himalayan pink salt. Yep, it comes directly from the Himalayas and it’s pink. If you’re considering going pink then you’re onto a good thing – it’s a far better alternative to processed salt and you are making a very good call when you’re using just the right amount, enough to keep it healthy.

Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including: calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. So, it definitely does more than enhance the flavour of your food. You can also add it to hot baths to ease sore tired muscles too!

Salt is a very important part of what our bodies need, so use it but use it right.

Pepper:

There is a vast assortment of peppers to explore ranging from your basic black pepper to chilli, jalapeño, habanero, cayenne to a white pepper, each with its own degree of spiciness and subtle flavour distinctions.

Spices:

Let’s look a bit closer at other seasonings. Most individual seasonings are classed as herbs or spices. Herbs are usually the fresh or dried leaves of succulent plants that grow in particularly temperate climates. Spices tend to refer to any seasoning derived from the other parts of the plant besides the leaves, including the roots, stems, bark, seeds, fruit or buds.

Just to add a ‘sprinkle’ of confusion, chefs will use these two terms differently; spices can be used to describe all seasonings, including herbs.

Whereas herbs will have a somewhat milder flavour, spices are likely to be more pronounced. The most common cooking herbs will include basil, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, thyme and dill. Common culinary spices include cinnamon, paprika (another peppers), turmeric, ginger, saffron and cumin. Ginger and garlic are both considered spices as well.

An interesting fact for you:

Did you know that some herbs and spices can come from different parts of the same plant? Dill seed and dill weed. Two other herbs, cilantro and coriander – both come from the same plant, but at two different stages in its growth cycle.

Also, many herbs and spices come from different varieties of the same plant, such as the mind-boggling array of types of basil, including Thai basil, Lemon basil, Cinnamon basil and Royal basil. What’s more, basil is just one kind of mint, of which there’s an even greater variety. Interestingly, although many herbs and spices, like liquorice, fennel and star anise, have a very similar flavour but are actually not linked to one another at all!

Heres an Experiment for you! – Different seasonings and blends applied to similar dishes may take you on entirely different culinary journey. We encourage you to explore them! You’ll be fascinated with the flavour you can add to your food and how much better it can be!

Raw Food Tip: When creating raw dishes, I have a strong focus on seasonings as this really enhances the flavour of dishes. Raw food is obviously not cooked and therefore you are not cooking flavour into the food so you use things to enhance the flavour instead!

My main 5 include:

– fresh lemon juice

Lemon juice is a great way to draw out the flavour of foods and is a very good source of vitamin C and potassium. Lemon juice is perfect for sprucing up a salad or dressings.

– tamari (liquid aminos) 

Liquid aminos is basically a GMO and wheat-free version of a soy sauce, yet has a very similar flavour. I use it a lot in asian cooking – it’s especially great for marinades and as an asian flavouring with the right herbs and spices. Tamari is also great, but is a bit on the pricey side.

– ground cinnamon 

Amazing for enhancing sweet dishes and adding flavour to things like cakes, chocolates and nut creams. It’s also great for our blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health.

My homemade almond milk recipe is heavily flavoured with cinnamon, which is one of my favourite recipes.

– apple cider vinegar

This is amazing stuff, I use it in all sorts of savory food. It’s great for salad dressings, marinades and sauces.

It’s also great for enhancing other flavours too. When making raw cakes, for example, I will sometimes just add a drop of it (literally just a drop) to enhance the flavour of a chocolate orange cake, for example.

Apple cider vinegar also has great health benefits and is an alkaline vinegar, meaning it’s also fermented.

– nutritional yeast

This yeast is grown specifically to be used as a food product. The yeast cells are killed during manufacturing and not alive in the final product. It is used in cooking and has a cheesy, nutty or savory flavor.

Key Takeaways:

– Add
– These
– Here

All about oils

Guide:

All about oils

I’ve worked across a variety of jobs across the catering industry; a chef in Michelin starred restaurants to pubs, events and weddings. I have seen it all and seen how our food is made in every area and the quality of some of those foods, oil is one of the ones that often gets overlooked.

The focus of this lesson is about being aware of what our food contains and how you can go about reducing the bad stuff in your everyday cooking and eating habits. You will begin to fall in love with food again, knowing what ingredients to use and which to avoid.

Cooking oils are one of the secrets of good cooking, and although choosing the best one can turn into quite the hassle these days, there are only a few things you should remember before making your pick.

Always choose extra-virgin oils, these are made from the first pressing, so nothing refined here. Cold pressed is even better, as it means the olives or avocados or coconuts were stored in low temperatures and simply pressed until they released oil, with no extra heat or chemical additives used in the extraction process.

Reducing bad fats and oils

Cooking with excess oils and butters has become so standardised that we don’t even realise how much damage it can do to our bodies. Choosing to use good fats like coconut oil, over vegetable oil and butter, is a great first step in reducing all the unnecessary intake of bad fats in our bodies.

Facts and tips about heating oils:

Fact: When oils are heated, their color completely changes, as well as their taste and nutritional properties. Many oils become very toxic when you take them above certain temperatures and when they reach smoke-point, all nutritional value is lost and can become toxic. However, every oil is different.

For example, olive oil has a smoke-point of 200oc. Once it reaches this temperature it begins to release toxic smoke and fumes that we then inhale and continue to cook into our food.

Tip: Avoid deep frying and pan frying with refined oils. Try to cook by steaming, boiling and grilling where you can, or simply use coconut oil for any type of hot cooking you want. It behaves very well at high temperatures and retains its structure and nutritional properties to a very Very Very! high temperature. I couldn’t recommend coconut oil highly enough.

Extra: If your diet includes meat of any kind, always opt for the leanest cuts where possible and avoid any skins from fish, poultry and meats. There is no need to cook them in huge amounts of refined oils. As above, coconut oil is great for cooking meat and fish, too. It gives a great nuttiness to everything and is much better when you want non-stick, too.

Now don’t get me wrong – that doesn’t mean all other oils are bad and that you should stay away from them completely.

Using cold oils:

When used cold, oils can be great in so many ways. For example, cold extra virgin olive oil is pressed straight from olives and is full of antioxidants as well as polyphenols, which are both considered great for heart health. I use extra virgin olive oil frequently in salad dressings and marinades. It also adds an amazing flavour to cold dishes.