Showing posts with label Tried & Tested. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tried & Tested. Show all posts

17 May 2017

A Week (Or So) With MealPal

For the last two weeks, I've really been treating myself. I've reached the end of my time with my current company and ahead of my next move decided to try out some of the delicious lunch offers available in central London. To make my edible adventure a little more cost-efficient (and frankly time-efficient) I teamed up with MealPal - a London/US-based lunch program that gives you access to the best restaurants for less than £5.00 per meal. Their goal is to provide a fast, fun, and efficient system to get you delicious and affordable lunch every day.
I used their lovely little app for just over two weeks to explore the Fitzrovia area at lunchtimes but, because of my pickiness, ended up eating at the same place 4 times. Here's how it works:
  1. Download the MealPal app and sign-up to your chosen plan.
  2. From 5pm the day before, select the meal you want and the time you want to collect.
  3. Pick up your lunch the next day and enjoy, knowing it's already paid for, you don't need to make any decisions and you're enjoying something fresh. 

The kitchen closes at 9:30am the day of collection. You can provide reviews of the lunch after you've collected it, constantly editing your preferences so that MealPal can give you dedicated suggestions for the next day. Delicious, right?! MealPal offers two subscriptions: 
  • Lunch a Lot: Up to 20 meals per 30-day cycle, £4.39 per meal, including VAT and fees. 
  • Lunch a Bunch: Up to 12 meals per 30-day cycle, £4.79 per meal, including VAT and fees.

Unsurprisingly, I ate at my favourite spot The Detox Kitchen more than any other place. Their offering is actually a bargain if you're ordering through MealPal rather than directly with the cafe. I enjoyed both the green veggie and sweet potato frittatas, both served with a range of daily salads including butterbean and fennel; raw slaw; and curried sweet potato. While eating in the cafe, I also purchased a cheeky coffee now and then which I guess is part of the MealPal plan!

On my 'treat' days, I also enjoyed a veggie burger from Patty&Bun with an absolute tonne of fries (again, another absolute BARGAIN!) and panko sweet potato katsu curry with sushi and salad from this tiny place in East London which I can't remember the name of. This is the joy of MealPal; you can literally get anything you fancy all for the same price! Such a joy!
I would definitely recommend giving MealPal a whirl, even if you just try it for a month the savings are immeasurable if you buy lunch every day. The variety is fantastic and it also pushes you to leave the desk at lunchtime - something we could all day with doing more of.

Thank you to MealPal for providing me with this service on a complimentary basis.  

19 September 2016

A Moment of Calm with Kanuka Tea

I'm on a little break at the moment but wanted to share something with you: The Ayurvedic Tea from Kanuka. It's been keeping me calm and warming my soul these last few weeks as I get my head down at work. I've managed to schedule a few posts but you know when life just gets a bit crazy and you really need to just streamline what you commit to? Well that's me now.
Kanuka, based in Hertfordshire, was founded in 2015. After 12 years in the construction industry, and tired of drinking endless amounts of builder’s brews, John Hesler decided to explore the world of luxury teas, opening his eyes to the variety of blends and a plethora of possibilities. With the help of his family, they are set to firmly make their mark on the UK tea industry with this exceptional new brand. 

The Ayurvedic tea helps revitalise the body’s energy, encouraging restorative harmony and peace at all levels. While this is a great brew for everyone, it’s particularly perfect for yogis as it supports a quiet mind - something I could really do with at the moment! The tea is naturally caffeine-free and has a subtle, sweet flavour. Also, it's damn pretty in an Instagram shot! 

Speak soon, when life is calmer. 

14 July 2016

Esja Skyr (Icelandic Yogurt)

Since going vegetarian I've always been concerned about my protein intake. It's such a cliche for vegans and vegetarians, "but where do you get your protein", and while I would love to turn my nose up and say "oh well from here, here and here" it's definitely something I worry about. So, when I was asked to test out Esja Skyr I was quite excited. High in protein, fat-free and organic, Esja Skyr has a wealth of health benefits for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Yes, it's not vegan, but sometimes as a vegetarian, you have to make compromises.
I've settled on being vegetarian since taking part in Veganuary. Although I would prefer to maintain a vegan diet (and I do 90% of the time) my nut allergy makes it very difficult to ensure I get my RDA of most food groups, including protein. I do not drink dairy milk in my coffee or tea; I generally avoid eggs and never eat them in their 'natural form'; I very rarely eat yogurts or add cream to my cakes, and I most certainly never eat meat or fish. Being willing to try a dairy based yogurt is a big step for me as I have avoided dairy (aside from the odd bit of cheese) for almost seven months.

Esja Skyr was created by British food entrepreneur David Atkin and Icelandic brothers, Helgi and Sverrir Gunnarsson, to bring their Icelandic yogurt to the UK. Utilising traditional Icelandic techniques, the Eska Skyr family recipe has been used for twenty years and is finally making its debut on British soil.
And of course, in true Icelandic style, not only is Esja Skyr good for its health benefits, but it’s good for the environment too- the production facility is 100% carbon neutral making it truly responsibly sourced food. Produced locally in Devon, Esja Skyr products are made using only the finest organic ingredients and 100% British milk from British cows supporting British farmers and lower food miles, making Esja Skyr a poster child for sustainability.

A luxury, high-end product, Esja Skyr is already stocked in health foodie favourite Planet Organic showcasing four fantastic flavours: Natural, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Mango, all of which are rich in calcium, vitamins and bursting with natural protein.

A great breakfast option (milder in flavour than yoghurt), Esja Skyr is a perfect addition to a smoothie or with fresh fruit and milk or simply by itself. Time to reimagine your breakfast with a healthy, wholesome Icelandic influence which is truly guilt-free!

12 July 2016

Trying Cleansing Teas with Indigo Herbs

If you use Instagram or are under 25 you've probably heard of cleanse teas. They are touted by the likes of the Kardashians, loved by the fitness queens on Instagram and claim to help detox the body. I've never thought much of these teas - anything faddy or in the slightest bit 'cool' is often not all it's cracked up to be. 

When Indigo Herbs sent me their Super Cleanse Detox Support Tea I was a little wary, but, knowing how much I enjoyed my herbal powders from them previously, was willing to give it a try. The tea perfectly blends fennel, liquorice, nettle, dandelion, red clover and ginger giving a warming, comforting flavour - unlike many commercial detox teas. The tea claims to purify and support the detox process, negating the after-effects of overindulging in caffeine. You know what that means guys - a lot of trips to the bathroom! 
The tea comes in a loose leaf form, made from 100% pure botanical ingredients. A little random but the actual tea itself looks very pretty and when I used my cute diffuser I felt very fancy. Perhaps this is a side effect of the tea - feeling very chic when drinking it. I can't say that the tea made my skin super glowing or my hair grow a thousand times quicker like most teas claim, but, ahead of my holiday, it did help to kick any sweet cravings I had and made me feel much calmer during my final days at work. Relaxation, tick. Detoxing - maybe tick.

Alongside this tea, I have also been taking four Organic Spirulina Tablets a day to boost my protein intake and effortlessly up my greens. The tablets are literally flavourless if you swallow them with water and genuinely made me feel a little more perked up during the day. I have been taking two with my breakfast and two at lunch time, downed with a big gulp of water. Like all other Indigo Herbs products, these are certified organic and ideal for those following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Learn more about Indigo Herbs here > 

15 February 2016

Snack Garden Veggie and Fruit Crisps

Since taking part in Veganuary this year, and continuing to maintain an 80% vegan lifestyle, I have found my taste buds have changed. I no longer crave sweet and creamy foods such as a delicious chocolate bar or cake, rather I lean more towards savoury and salty snacks. The savoury market in highly catered to with crisps and other fried options available, however, the healthier savoury snack industry is still building itself on the back of the healthy movement that kicked off big style last year. 
If customers want a savoury snack that is relatively healthy, options include nuts (which I'm allergic to), seed packs (high in fat, often contain nuts or dried fruit) of vegetable 'crisps' from brands such as Kettle. When I was approached by Snack Garden, a Hungarian based company, in January to review their healthier alternative to these savoury snacks I was excited. Not only is the brand itself incredibly inspiring (more on that later) but their product is truly unique. Snack Garden produces two varieties of snack - a  vacuum-fried vegetable mix and a freeze-dried fruit mix. Both are 100% natural so they do not contain any additives, preservatives, added sugar or anything artificial. Guess which one is my favourite?

The snacks are some of the most interesting things I have seen available on the market. The vegetables are actual veggies that you can recognise - such as rounds of carrots or whole green beans - vacuum fried and seasoned to perfection. The fruit pieces are incredibly sweet without the need for added sugar, making them perfect for an afternoon treat. 

To top off how delicious and exciting these snacks are, the team at Snack Garden also believe in a social initiative called the cycle of goodness that maintains that no one prospers without rendering benefit to others. They work with disabled people in their packaging operations, who weigh and pack each bag by hand in Budapest. Furthermore Snack Garden donates 10% of our profits to charities including a local children's hospital and a Down's Syndrome association.

Snack Garden will be available on the UK market later this year. For more information visit Snack Garden's website. 

10 July 2015

Eat Nourish Glow, Amelia Freer

I've not done a book review before despite being an avid collector of cookbooks. My shelves are packed with health orientated tomes, hearty home cook books and the occasional celebrity chef. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on Amelia Freer's wonderful book Eat Nourish Glow.
Freer has been getting a lot of attention recently in the press, especially around her celebrity 'transformations'. Sam Smith is an avid follower of her system and I must say I am completely sold on it to. Freer keeps things simple: eat to nourish your body and glow on the inside and outside. 

The book is separated into 11 chapters, 10 of which are her 'tips' on how to eat, nourish and glow. Rather than a simple list of tips, Freer breaks down her points into 5-10 pages of detailed nutritional information which explain her point excellently. 
We start with the fridge refresh, which reminded me of the start of Madeline Shaw's Get The Glow (review coming soon). Freer advises what foods to get rid of (anything processed, containing sugar, gluten etc), and what to replace them with. I found this section really helpful as its all good throwing everything out but without direct replacements things can get confusing. For example replacing white flour with brown rice flour or coconut flour, looking to non-gluten grains such as quinoa and amaranth, and even sugar alternatives.  
As with PURE by Sarah Cadji, Freer makes note of the importance of falling into the fruit sugar trap. According to Freer (and most other health writers) the body doesn't see fruit sugar any differently to other sugars. The 'natural' fructose in fruits still causes blood sugar spikes although they may be less extreme. Freer also points to lower GI fruits such as green apples as a go-to if you want fruit snacks and that eating fruits alongside a complete meal helps to slow down the sugars release into the bloodstream. 

The book closes with Freer's thoughts on exercise. I appreciate that she explains like food exercise should be taken mindfully and that excessive intense exercise will do more harm than good. In a world where we all reminded daily of how amazing our bodies could look if we live in the gym Freer's words are a refreshing approach.

16 October 2014

Celebrating National Chocolate Week with Whittard of Chelsea

In case you didn't know, this week is National Chocolate Week. Epic, I know! We've been celebrating at work all this week with cakes, chocolate treats and all-manner of chocolate based innuendoes, and at home Alex and I have been happily celebrating with this amazing hamper from Whittard of Chelsea. Move over tea; chocolates in town. 

29 September 2014

Cheese, Spreads and Breads from Snowdonia

It's very early in the morning when I am writing this, which reminds me fondly of our 6am starts in Wales. Last week I shared with you some of our holiday snaps from Snowdonia and other parts of North Wales. Today comes the foodie part. On our last day in Wales we stopped by an amazing Welsh/Italian deli in Betwys-e-Coed to stock up on Welsh goodies to take home because, in my opinion, there's no better way to remember a holiday than by eating it! 

1 September 2014

Lunch Feast from Fast East Story, Archway

This weekend we discovered a fantastic new shop in Archway that I had to share with you. Run by a young man in his 20's, Far East Story on Junction Road brings China Town up and into North London. We love fresh gyoza and char sui bau, plus all the dried noodles, aloe juice and even bubble tea that Far East Story has to offer. 

13 August 2014

Celebrating Regional Produce: Cheese, Chorizo and Oat Cakes

Don’t you just love lazy Sundays? Where it’s OK to get near-drunk in the middle of the day; OK to eat copious amounts of food; and OK to sit in bed all day? Well that’s exactly what I did this weekend. We indulged in a really delicious red wine from Cataluña and tucked into the treats I had brought back from my recent trip to Scotland.  Read on to learn more…

21 May 2014

Innocent Super Smoothies

Innocent smoothies have been around for a while now and have revolutionised our attitude to fruits and veg. Not only do they provide the UK with tasty and nutritious drinks, they also encourage kids to get involved with engaging and fun packaging and encourage us to be more excited by healthy produce. This season sees the launch of the new Super Smoothie – I know, it sounds awesome already!

15 May 2014

Raw Chi Purity Cleanse

Since starting my healthy lifestyle, I have found the use of powders and potions very interesting. I have been opened up to the world of spirulina, maca powder and Echinacea – not the mention the hoards of super foods on the market. When I was approached by Raw Chi foods to give one of their cleansing powders a try, I was dubious to say the least. My experience, however, has been a really interesting one. Here’s how I got on with the Purity Cleanse from Raw Chi Foods.

26 April 2014

CHOChick Raw Chocolate Kit

Since starting this whole need food journey into a healthier way of living, I have been really intrigued by raw chocolate. Standard chocolate is packed with milk, sugar, preservatives and flavours thus raw chocolate is that product devoid of all the bad stuff! Are you still with me? Basically this is healthy chocolate. These chocolate delights saw me through Easter without falling off the wagon once. I've definitely got your attention now.

23 April 2014

Hans Sloane Drinking Chocolate

A little chocolate is what we all need sometimes. It's that luxury that we can all afford and there are thousands of varieties, styles and forms you can get your cocoa kick from. Although I am now madly in love with raw chocolate (my post on making them is coming soon), these luxe drinks from Hans Sloane are a real delight to drink.

30 March 2014

Cadbury's Ritz & Lu Bars

Chocolate is heaven to me, and I love it when a brand comes out with a new flavour combo for us to enjoy. Since Cadbury's was bought by Kraft I have seen even more exciting flavour combinations and innovative partnerships coming out of their Bournville factory. I mean, who doesn't love the Egg and Spoon right? So today I wanted to share their latest offering with you; teaming up Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate with Lu and Ritz crackers.

Sounds a bit crazy right? Well the saltiness of the Lu and Ritz crackers actually works brilliant with the soft, silky Dairy Milk chocolate. Think of salted caramel (it's Nigella Lawson's favourite flavour) and apply that same thinking to chocolate. You get a delicious chocolatey treat that isn't overwhelmingly sweet and is perfectly balanced. I absolutely love the Ritz and Dairy Milk bar and have, very naughtily, eaten my way through about 10 of them in the last few weeks! Go check them out in your local supermarket and trust me you'll never look back. 

28 February 2014

Soulful Pots

Over the next few weeks I will posting some really new and exciting lunch and snack options that will make a real change from your normal coffee run. Today I look at Soulful Pots from the wonderful Soulful Foods.

The hot lunch pot is seriously big business with loads of healthy eating companies making their own versions. Soulful Pots from Soulful Foods are my particular favourite; they have a selection of five different meals that are not only packed with flavour but packed with vegetables, meat and grains that fill you up while satisfying your foodie side. My team and I recently tested the whole range of Soulful Pots and here are our thoughts:

18 January 2014

Healthy Eating at Work

Continuing with my healthy eating in today's post and focusing on being healthy at work. I know in my workplace being healthy can be a little bit of a challenge. We regularly have birthdays as our office is huge, so lots of cake, and are frequently gifted with chocolates and treats for our teams.The canteen is also really cheap and we also have a Costa on site, so the "ooh I'll just pop down and get a..." happens a lot.

I already bring my own lunch and breakfast into work which really helps, and we are blessed with having a huge fridge. However I know that it can be really difficult for office workers to not just run to the local sandwich shop, canteen or snack on treats all day, hence this post! I was recently sent a box of healthy goodies from the lovely ladies at Story PR who represent quirky and unique foodie brands, and wanted to use these to show you how I maintain a healthy diet at work.

26 October 2013

Hot Pepper Jelly Naga Chilli Launch

Last week the lovely owners of Hot Pepper Jelly in Crouch End invited me to the launch of their new chilli jelly, 'Naga Chilli Jam', and it was certainly an taste experience. 

Hot Pepper Jelly is a lovely establishment in the heart of Crouch End, North London. The tiny cafe is nestled alongside a beauty salon on Topsfield Parade, and is run by an equally beautiful family of bright and bubbly women. These ladies are so warm and welcoming, and their staff are well trained to emanate that same sense of passion. "I started this for a bit of fun", said one of the family, "but now everyone loves it!" They have a strong local community of chilli lovers, and were even able to tempt me into the burn.

22 October 2013

Divino Gelato

I would argue with any diner than gelato, ice cream or sorbet is the perfect way to end a meal.  That palette refreshing, slightly sweet and easy to stomach delight is the source of joy for children the world over but is often ignored by adults. Why? Well there are a number of reasons, one being the often un-healthy nature of these yummy treats. Enter Divino gelato.

This week Divino sent me a selection of their desserts, which have just hit the UK, perfectly in time for Christmas dinner parties throughout the country. Produced since 1928, the Divino's latest collection of gelato fruit desserts are exactly as describe: fruit plus gelato... but in a way you may not expect.

These gelato goodies are stuffed full of Italian fruits, ranging between 40% and 70% of the final product depending on the flavour. But not only is the gelato full of fruit, it quite literally fills a fruit. Crafted from Mediterranean inspired flavours, including Ciaculli tangerine, Roman kiwi, Vesuvian apricot, and Montella Chestnut, the gelato is formed by blending the pulp with volcanic mineral water from the nearby Mount Etna and Vesuvius. The gelato creation is then reintroduced into the original fruit's shell and sealed, giving a fantastically fresh and bold finish. 

20 October 2013

Wahaca at Home: Fiery Chicken

Wahaca at Home: Issue 2

After the glorious beef barbacoa dish that I cooked last week, it was time to embark on another Mexican food adventure with the aptly named 'Fiery Chicken'. The recipe was taken from the Wahaca at Home book, and is best used on chicken wings.

Being stingy and still in the student mentality of using up the fridge before patents visit (free shopping is never a bad thing), I opted for chicken quarter joints. Another advantage, I post-rationalised, is that the bigger meat portion allows for more sauce and therefore more taste testing. I marinated the chicken quartets (£3 from M&S for two) overnight in the fiery sauce. 

Unfortunately, I was a bit of a chicken (see what I did there?) and chose to test the habanero sauce Wahaca sent me in this recipe. The book calls for cooks to use the chile de arbol, but the label scared me off; the Day of the Dead man was scary! In addition, I've never hidden my dislike of ridiculously hot food-seriously even a chicken korma gets me- so opted for the habanero sauce instead.