In celebration of National Chip Week…

Yesterday, 21st Feb, was the official start of National Chip Week 2011. The love that we have for the good old English spud makes this one of the most appealing food events of the year. You can’t get much more British than fish and chips right?

We’ve been following the coverage of National Chip Week at Red Apple HQ. Most interesting has been the almost indiscernible number of methods of making the perfect chip… it would have been really interesting to collate all these recipes to make the perfect chip into one post – really interesting, but also impossible!

So, we decided not to try and add to this plethora of recipes for chip perfection. I mean, triple frying a chip will no doubt make it taste good but how realistic is that at home? Instead, we thought we’d share something a little easier (and healthier) to make at home – our version of roast potatoes. These aren’t your Sunday brunch kind but more the kind you might pair with some pizza, garlic bread and a big green salad!

redapple Roast Potatoes (serves 4)

  • 1 kg of baby new potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs, our favourite is rosemary

Wash the baby new potatoes and place into a baking dish. Set your oven to Gas Mark 7 or 180C (its all approximate so don’t worry too much). Splash over some olive oil, the sea salt and black pepper. Wash the rosemary, take it off its stalk and scatter liberally (if using any other fresh herb, wait until the potatoes are almost ready before adding to prevent any burning). Mix all. Bake for about 40 minutes turning every so often. Again, all ovens are different so use your judgement. 40 minutes later, voila!

See, its spud-tasticly easy! 😉

Oh yeah, and for more national chip week love, go to its official potato council website fittingly called www.lovepotatoes.co.uk.

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the fruit of love, lychees

You can’t miss the fact that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. So, what are you doing for this special day? At red apple, we love the idea of cooking a romantic dinner for that special someone. Nothing you could ever buy quite says ‘i love you’ like a home-made, candle-lit dinner. I mean, think about all the love you pour into your cooking… the time and personal effort. And its all worth it to see a smile!

This year we’ve decided that lychees are to be the fruit of love. These succulent heart-shaped fruits embody the essence of romance. Why don’t you try making this really easy lychee lassi as a surprise for your loved one this weekend?

Lychee Lassi (enough for 2)

  • 20 lychees (shells & stones removed)
  • 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
  • a handful of crushed ice
  • 4 tbsp of greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • a couple of cardomom seeds (shelled, and crushed in a pestle and mortar)

To make the lassi, gather the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Ready. See, easy!

You can garnish with a sprig of mint or the empty vanilla pod if you want to make it look special and fancy.

The travesty of food wastage

A new 4 part series called The People’s Supermarket aired its first episode on Channel 4 last night. The brainchild of top chef Arthur Potts-Dawson and his two partners, the strategy for the supermarket is to run it for the people and by the people. Certainly an interesting concept and one to watch.

However, what piqued our attention in the programme was the inordinate amount of supermarket food wastage – to the extent that a few hours of rifling through bins produced enough food to provide 60 people with a 5 course meal! Crazy!

This got me thinking… To add to the food wastage of supermarkets, government statistics show that UK consumers annually purchase £10bn of food (about £420 per family) which they do not eat. Launched in 2007, a campaign by WRAP highlights this:

Photocredit: WRAP Love Food, Hate Waste campaign

This is ridiculous food wastage but who is at fault?

Well, research shows that the methods supermarkets use to shift volume and retain market share have changed over time and these are increasingly contributing to this problem of food waste. Consider the ubiquitous BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers. We all know them. How often does it tempt you to buy something you don’t need and otherwise wouldn’t?

Yet, one can’t just blame the supermarkets. Surely the consumer has the power of choice – the choice to shop in a supermarket, the choice to purchase items on offer, the choice to knowingly buy in excess of what is needed. The government must and is wrapping the knuckles of the supermarket to cut down on food waste (and ridiculously excessive packaging, but lets leave that for another blog post). However, we must all do our bit too!

As consumers, we can choose to reduce our food waste by only buying what we need and how much we need of it – an option that we give you at redappledelivery.com. Using up the rest of the food not used in a another recipe or taking the previous night’s leftovers for lunch are some good ways to also cut down the amount of food you throw away. If you only used half a tomato in last night’s salad, why don’t you make a cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch? It doesn’t take long, saves you some dosh and prevents you contributing to the huge mountains of food waste piling up across Britain.

As celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal states, “There’s enormous satisfaction to be had from getting the very most out of every ingredient, coming up with ingenious ways to serve leftovers and finding new recipes to use up a glut of fruit or veg”.

The stress of working after 3pm…

A few days ago, the Sunday papers broke the news story that Nick Clegg had warned that he would only read departmental paperwork if it got to his red box by 3pm Mon – Thurs and 12pm on Fri. Suggestions abound as to why this has been implemented but much has been made of Clegg’s potential lack of work-life balance and stress associated with the job of running the country.

What could Clegg (and all of us) do to minimise stress? Look at what we eat! Food and stress are strongly intertwined. Helping our bodies by eating the right foods to maintain energy and mop up those free radicals is key to fighting the stress of our everyday lives. Yet, more often than not, at stressful times the foods that take centre stage are ‘comfort’ foods like macaroni cheese, pizza and ice cream. Cue fruit and veg.

Fresh fruit and veg, especially red and yellow ones, have high levels of stress relieving nutrients such as Vitamin C. This super vitamin repairs the body and helps keep crazy free radicals in check. Think oranges, carrots, peppers. Blueberries are also very high in Vitamin C (yes, we know they’re not red or yellow)! Potassium is a key mineral for stress reduction and can be found in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach.

These are only a few of the fruit and veg that can help. Eating a varied and colourful diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals, including those that help combat stress.

Perhaps Nick Clegg should order one of our special fruit and veg bags for his office?