A selection of Pure Package and Balance Box meals: Me and my husband grab a few of these each week to keep us on track and then top up the fridge with a weekly shop. To have guilt free, delicious meals on hand is a real privilege. Our favourite dishes include a goats’ cheese, beetroot and sweet potato salad; Asian salmon salad with rice noodles; miso cod with sesame wild rice; and comforting evening meals like lobscouse (a beef and lamb stew) and mushroom stroganoff made with millet.
Coconut Milk: I have four girls, aged six to 14, and they all love making seasonal smoothies packed with fresh berries from the garden and fresh spinach or lettuce leaves with cold coconut milk and live yoghurt.
Parmesan: Cheese is very popular in my house. I can convince any of my daughters to eat a simple, blanched vegetable as long as it’s got a grating of parmesan on top. It’s the umami flavour.
Hummus: If the fridge didn’t contain hummus, then I’m not sure what my girls would do. If I’m not careful, I’d catch them eating it with a spoon.
Wholemeal Flour: This is an essential ingredient when it comes to making soda bread. I always have some in my cupboard.
Seaweed: I add kelp flakes to stocks and sauces – like a seasoning – it enriches the flavour and nutrition. The brand I use is ThisIsSeaweed.com, which comes in handy tins of dulce, kemp and alaria. Waitrose sells small tubs of aonori for sprinkling on salads and soups.
Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseeds and linseeds are always in my cupboard. They are great to add to smoothies to give you the essential fats you need on a daily basis. I also scatter them over yoghurt and fruit and add it to my homemade muesli.
Soy Sauce & Fish Sauce: I’m a huge lover of Asian-style cooking and soy sauce and fish sauce play a key part in that. I sometimes add soy sauce to gravy – it takes the flavour up a notch. Soy sauce doesn’t have to be a statement.
Avocado Oil: It is so versatile, and has a high smoking point, so it’s good for frying. I often use it to perfectly fry a delicate piece of fish.
Tinned Tomatoes: A store cupboard essential. I add them to my homemade bolognese sauce, curries, chillies and more.
Pulses: Lentils, beans and quinoa are a great essential to have to hand. They are easy to cook and packed with goodness, plus they’re an inexpensive source of much-needed protein.
FRUIT & VEGETABLES
Lemons: My go to ingredient for extra flavour. I add it to marinades and dressings and to finish off dishes. I make fresh soda bread on a weekly basis. In Ireland, the traditional way to make it is by mixing buttermilk and wholemeal flour, but when I haven’t got any buttermilk, a squeeze of lemon juice in regular milk makes a great substitute.
Carrots & Cucumber: No matter the time of the day, I will always cut up small batons of carrots and cucumbers for my daughters to snack on. Carrots are a great source of carotene and cucumbers are great served cold as they are so refreshing.
Potatoes: Every year I grow my own potatoes – it’s so easy and they can be served any way you wish. As an Irish foodie, instead of rushing to the shops to buy toilet rolls at the start of the pandemic, I went straight into the garden to plant as many potatoes as possible. I love making stuffed potato skins out of them, they go down a treat with my girls. Sweet potatoes stuffed with semi-sundried tomatoes, seeds and crumbled goats’ cheese on top are a current favourite.
Broccoli: No matter what main dish you are serving, broccoli tends to go with them all. It’s so versatile and vibrant. I like to blanch or steam broccoli and add it to stir-fries and salads.
Herbs: Growing herbs is one of my favourite things to do. My go-tos are basil, rosemary, parsley and mint – I’m currently growing lemon mint, apple mint, spearmint and garden mint. But my favourite is chocolate mint which I add to my mojitos. Herbs are wonderful infused in water to make a refreshing drink, too.
Nairn’s Oatcakes: These are delicious by themselves. My daughters love them and are always eating them with heaps of hummus.
Tapenades: The simplest of ingredients can make one of the most flavoursome dishes. I love to eat mine with oatcakes or with my homemade soda bread.
Kombucha: One day I hope to have more time so I can make my own. Until then, I’m currently trying loads of brands to find my favourite. I love Booya Vitality.
Rooibos Tea: When I’m not sipping on a freshly brewed tea made with herbs from the garden, I reach into the cupboard for rooibos.
Turmeric Gold Organic Latte: I mix this with around 250ml of warm milk to make a delicious caffeine-free latte. I don’t drink much coffee so it’s great alternative. And turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Gin: Although I am not a large drinker, I do occasionally like a glass of gin with kombucha, or my favourite – a Double Dutch Pomegranate & Basil mixer. It’s delicious over some ice while sitting in the sun. I did a course at the Gin Institute in Notting Hill and have been working on creating my own flavours using Portobello Road Distillery Gin as a base.
Prosecco: This is my go-to drink when I have friends round. Everyone loves prosecco, and I tend to choose a dry one. It has to be cold and served in the perfect glass – I love a coupe.
Spinach: Nutrient-dense frozen spinach is always in my freezer. I chuck it in smoothies, make a side for dinner with kelp flakes (which adds an amazing flavour), or add it to stews.
Edamame Beans: These are so easy to prepare and always go down a treat in my house. They are perfect when we’re having sushi, as well as an addition to soups and salads. They can be prepared quickly, and the children love them as a snack.
Stock: I always boil up any leftover bones to make a delicious homemade stock. I leave it in the freezer and get it out when I need it. It makes the perfect base for a simple soup.
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