Most people's mode of living involves excessive calorie consumption. Accepting that change starts at home can be overwhelming, devastating and depressing for anyone with any joie de vivre, but it doesn't mean we have to live a staunch, colourless or bland life. If anything, it's the opposite: when we look into food production and the reality of what it means to eat sustainably, we are offered a pretty bountiful plate.
There are some incredible food producers in this country, and our seasons deliver an abundance of wonderful ingredients. Yes, eating in a 'restorative' way takes consideration, forming new habits, and stepping away from conveniences, but it can also be creative, fun and delicious.
The recipes below are full of practical steps and advice that can help push you towards living and eating more sustainably. By looking at the real carbon footprint of food and the reality of what we need to do to support our environment, our agricultural industry and the health of our bodies, you can use this information to create accessible and attainable recipes that are a celebration of life.
Inspired? Here are three autumnal recipes of Gizzi’s to try at home…
While working as a chef in NYC, I'd hit Koreatown in my downtime with my mates, drink ice-cold beers and eat Korean fried chicken. Koreatown was open late, and you could go from restaurant to karaoke bar eating and drinking yourself into a stupor. I fell in love with Korean food there, and fell in love with the culture five years later when I first visited Korea, later moving there to film my TV show Seoul Food. I'm certain that the popular 'buddha bowl' has Korean culinary heritage, as it's similar to a dish called 'bibimbap'. In a bibimbap bowl, rice is topped with vegetables, meat (optional), egg yolk and a spicy sauce. It is quite refined – you can't say that about a lot of Korean food – and is cooked in a searing hot cast-iron pot which is oiled before adding the rice; the vegetables and egg (and meat, if using) are swiftly put on top. By the time the rice gets to the table it has a fantastic caramelised crust that you peel away from the pot and you stir-fry everything at the table. It's real theatre. Fear not if you don't have cast-iron pots: you can eat it like Hawaiian poke, in a bowl with hot rice. Bibimbap is delicious, healthy and a great way to tackle a fridge forage. I've used traditional toppings, but do play around with seafood, tofu and different veg: the only mainstays are the rice, egg yolk and sauce.
Roasted Cauliflower, Preserved Lemon & Chilli Pasta
Why have I never put cauliflower in any pasta dishes before? It's not like it doesn't make sense to put cauliflower cheese with pasta? The first time I saw anyone do it in a way that piqued my interest was when cookery writer Rosie Birkett made this lovely roasted cauliflower pasta with preserved lemons. I have messed around with a few different recipes, but there's something in the way the salty, sour and bitter lemons react with the cauliflower and acidulated, silky cheese sauce that give it the adult flare that makes it so special. I roast cauliflower leaves for this dish: they are so sweet and delicious, and have a satisfying texture.
Clams are my favourite food. Some people can sit and eat ridiculous volumes of oysters (I am also one of those people), and I feel the same about clams. Winey, garlicky clams, with buttery bread to mop up the juices in a hot country like Spain or Portugal and a freezing glass of light white wine are one of the biggest eating pleasures of all. But in Italy you get to have it with the other best food of them all (I may have to broaden my idea of what my actual 'best food' is here) – spaghetti. Here's the deal with vongole. I use four techniques to ensure maximum flavour; first, I open the clams early in too much wine, second, I use way too much garlic (alarming amounts, but go with it, trust me), third, I don't cook the pasta fully, so it finishes cooking in the sauce, and fourth, I use the starchy pasta water to emulsify the sauce.