At the start of the New Year, after feeling a bit sluggish over Christmas with all those mince pies and roast dinners, I decided to have a bit of a health-kick and go dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free. I was inspired by some of my favourite food bloggers, Deliciously Ella, Madeleine Shaw and Tess Ward, who all advocate clean eating and cooking simple, wholesome meals with fresh ingredients from scratch. Their way of eating isn’t about counting calories or being overly restrictive, but eating well to energise and restore the mind and body. I was already dairy-free and had already been advised a low GI diet due to insulin resistance, so it was a no-brainer, I just needed a New Year push to get going… Now, I’ve swapped chocolate bars for raw cacao, starchy white rice and pasta for whole grains, crisps for nuts, and have even invested in NutriBullet for a daily smoothie.
This January, Robert Welch is launching its #eatwell campaign, encouraging us all to make a few small positive changes: to enjoy eating well, preparing fresh food and taking the time to dine at home. Last month they invited me to try out some meat-free Monday recipes at the shiny new Waitrose cookery school in my neighbourhood of King’s Cross, which they supply with their classic knives and cutlery. Dedicating one meat free meal a week is great way to increase your veggie intake and be a bit creative with bold flavours while you’re at it.
The cookery class was really fun and laid-back: you’re greeted with a glass of prosecco then a Waitrose chef takes you through the recipe you’ll be creating, giving you lots of handy tips and tricks along the way. We made feta-stuffed red peppers with a cauliflower tabbouleh. The cauliflower is whizzed up in a food processor until it resembles couscous, you can then add herbs, spices, nuts, lemon juice and vegetables; something I’ll definitely be recreating at home again, it’s so light and zingy.
What I really learnt was that just a few fresh herbs can really bring a recipe to life, while chopping a few roasted nuts can add a healthy source of protein to a vegetarian recipe. The best bit though? You get to sit down at the end of the class, with a nice glass of wine and eat what you’ve concocted, chatting to other like-minded people in the class.
Waitrose also has schools in Finchley Road, London and Salisbury in Wiltshire. You can WIN the chance to attend a course of your chose at any of the three cookery schools here.
As part of the #eatwell campaign, Robert Welch has been working with chef and food stylist Georgina Davies to create a selection of healthy recipes to guide you through eating well in the New Year. The recipes, ranging from raw cacao & nut brownies to superfood salad with quinoa, will feature on the Robert Welch blog through this month. Most are gluten-free and dairy-free.
I decided to try out the overnight oats with orange, blueberry and apple, a easy-peasy prepare ahead breakfast that will keep you going until lunchtime. It has chia seeds, those little wonder seeds that are loaded with nutrients – apparently just a teaspoon would keep Aztec warriors going for up to 24 hours. This is also a really flexible recipe, you can simply make the base of oats, chia seed and almond milk, then top with whatever fruit is in the fridge in the morning. The sweetness comes from the fruit and a drop of maple syrup, while the almond milk makes it really creamy and delicious.
Overnight oats with orange, blueberry and apple
serves 2 – vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free
-1 tbsp chia seeds
-1 orange, segmented
-350ml almond milk
-1 tsp of maple syrup
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-sprinkling of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
-1 apple, chopped
-place all the ingredients except the apple into a medium sized Tupperware box or bowl and mix
-cover and leave in the fridge overnight
-in the morning, add the chopped apple and loosen with a little extra almond milk if needed
-it can be served as it is, or warmed through in the microwave too.
Will you be eating healthily this January? I’m hoping to share some of my own recipes on the blog over the next few months, as my healthy eating journey progresses, so keep an eye out!