Eat Seasonally Whenever You Can
Eating seasonally isn’t just better for the planet, the food tends to be less expensive, it tastes better, and it helps us connect to mother earth. I love to buy my food at farmers markets such as Marylebone and Borough. I prefer them over supermarkets as I can find small, independent farmers who not only harvest delicious produce, but also care about the health of their soil – something that’s incredibly important to me and is part of Holy Carrot’s ethos. Hunting for fruit and vegetables, then coming home to create new dishes with them is such a joy. That said, I also love Whole Foods and Planet Organic.
Right now, it’s mushroom season, so I recently made white mushroom carpaccio topped with micro greens and truffle for a starter. I then used more white mushrooms to make a creamy and delicious pasta. If you feel like a pasta is too heavy for you, add this creamy sauce as an autumn/winter topping on your salad.
Keep Your Pantry Full Of Dry Ingredients
I always have my essential ingredients for any meal to hand, whatever the occasion, and I’ll always buy in bulk to reduce waste. Dry nuts or big jars of various nut butters are always well stocked, as these are a great source of good fats and can be a base for a dessert such as vegan cheesecake, or added to a morning smoothie. I always keep a few different types of healthy sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia drops close by. A good healthy flour is also important: fine milled almond flour from Erbology, chickpea flour, lupin flour and nutritional yeast are must-haves.
Freeze, Blitz & Buy Sauces
I always make extra sauce and keep a few batches in the freezer. Whether you’re making a pasta dish or curry, it’ll save you so much time, which is great if you have kids or don’t have time to cook from scratch. Equally, don’t be afraid to buy sauces from the supermarket, as long as you check the ingredients to make sure they’re not loaded with salt or sugar. Premade Holy Carrot mayonnaise is my go-to for a quick sandwich, while Mister Organic Pasta Sauce and Nojo Yuzu are my supermarket go-tos. If you’re after a simple dressing to make in seconds, whip up a quick French-inspired sauce by mixing together mustard, olive oil, soy sauce and lemon juice. It’s delicious on salads or over greens. To make any good sauce, you’ll need a decent blender – I use the Kuvings SV-500 Vacuum Blender which removes all air and oxygen from the container, preventing the oxidation of nutrients.
Invest In Good Oils
Quality oils lend extra flavour to any dish and are a great source of good fats. Some of my favourites include Laudemio Frescobaldi Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a delicate bitterness and richness, organic pumpkin seed oil for a nutty yet fresh taste, and Olio D’Oliva Olive Oil with Black Truffle to add earthy and mushroom-y notes to any dish.
Buy A Good Spiralizer
Spiralized food had a bit of a moment a few years ago, but in many restaurants, chefs still use them every day. I love my Chiba Japanese Spiralizer, which allows me to turn vegetables into different shapes or noodles, for example. My husband and I like to get the children involved, as I want to show them that vegetables aren’t boring.
Be Adventurous With Herbs & Spices
Apart from sauces, I have a number of herbs and spices stocked at home. My favourites include lemongrass and Thai basil for curries, miso and coconut aminos; sesame oil to make something sticky and give a nice umami taste to dishes; and dry seaweed for dashi to sprinkle on top of salads or hot dishes for extra flavour. I also love to use black sesame seeds, smoked paprika, curry mixes, kebab rubs and traditional Middle Eastern mixes. I bring a lot of them home from trips abroad, but it’s easy to find all of them in spice shops, like Spice Mountain in Borough Market.
If In Doubt, Make Pasta
Everyone in my house loves pasta, so I always have at least ten different types in my kitchen at all times. Edamame and mung bean fettuccini, red lentil tagliatelle, and fava bean fusilli are just a few in my collection. My husband’s go-to is lobio-inspired bean pasta: the main ingredients are an adjika hot sauce (which can be replaced with harissa), red beans, coriander, tomato sauce with roasted garlic, fried onion, onion powder, garlic powder, and sometimes I’ll add in smoked paprika and red wine. It’s a super quick recipe with loads of plant protein.
Set The Vibe With Music
I always try to relax and unwind while cooking, so a great playlist or album to set the mood usually helps. What can be better than mixing such a warm and loving process of preparing food with uplifting and mood-setting music? Always keep a speaker in the kitchen so you’re ready to go.
Get Creative To Cut Down On Waste
There are so many creative ways to integrate this rule into your daily life. For example, if you have a nearly finished jar of almond butter, add some milk and oats to the jar, mix, and let it chill overnight. Add some berries, cinnamon and maple syrup in the morning and enjoy your breakfast. I always try to make sure I don’t buy something extra or something that I know I won’t use in time. If I have veggie leftovers that are not fresh enough for a salad, I’ll create an oil or a soup out of them, or a jam with fruits or berries – my grandma taught me to do this when I was young.
Invest In A Good Compost Bin
I try to compost leftover plant-based food at home in my garden or with my Bokashi Home Composter which really helps reduce food waste. You can invest in a counter composter too, which can be kept on the worktop. Bokashi or Oklin are great brands that are worth the investment.