Getting enough fruit and veg into my lovely lot is never far from my thoughts at mealtimes here at Margot and Jerry HQ, not least because now we have begun to grow our own in the kitchen garden too. I say, kitchen garden, dear Reader….. I think that a more adequate description at present would be – 1 raised bed with a handful of rather battered seedlings which have been gobbled at by fat pigeons with a voracious appetite for brassicas. It would be safe to say that the kitchen garden definitely needs work. However, just in the nick of time, a rather lovely box of gleamingly healthy vegetables appeared by the back door, courtesy of Abel and Cole, – something to save us from the great kitchen garden famine of 2015.
With it, came the arrival of a new cookbook from Ebury Publishing – Rachel de Thample’s Five: 150 effortless ways to eat 5+ fruit and veg a day. The perfect combination for my latest #Happyfoodie challenge, dear Reader – 5 new recipes in 5 days.
Rachel’s book is not just for vegetarians (there’s something for meat eaters too) but there is an emphasis on eating ‘less meat, more veg’. With plenty of portable snacks, quick lunches and feast menus on offer, there’s certainly food for thought between the pages with a large helping of fruit and veg! Some lovely ideas for foraging for ingredients too. Changing habits is never easy and although I am known for my ninja style hidden vegetables in dishes, the book armed me with plenty of new ideas of how to introduce more fruit and veg into our diets without any extra fuss or each meal becoming completely vegetarian.
Espresso mushrooms with tagliatelle (3 portions of veg per serving) – an odd pairing of coffee and mushrooms you might think but surprisingly delicious. The coffee takes a backseat on the tastebuds but it really makes the mushroom sing with its earthy flavours. I had spaghetti to hand in the larder rather than tagliatelle but Rachel’s little notes that accompany the recipe give plenty of alternatives if you don’t have the exact ingredients to hand or need to swap them for any reason. This dish won Jerry over straight away so definitely one to commit to culinary memory. A delicious Monday meat free supper which can be whipped up in 20 minutes.
Tuesday and Chloe Chickpeas with Spiced Lamb Skewers and Herb Yogurt (4 portions of veg per serving). With snow on the ground at home, this was a wonderfully warming North African number with a gentle chilli and cinnamon spicing in the chickpeas. The best bit of the dish has to have been the lamb and aubergine skewers marinated in yoghurt and Rachel’s recipe for homemade garam marsala. I had no idea garam marsala was so easy to make so I will adding this to my list of homemade ingredients from now on.
Wednesday’s #fivechallenge saw the most delicious recipe so far. A cosy supper for Jerry and I of French Puy and Green Beans with Chicken and Mustard Crème Fraiche (3 portions per serving). Heaven on a plate and lots of healthy veggies to boot!
Time for a change to my normal coffee fuelled Thursday morning. Rachel’s recipe for Grapefruit and Ginger tea – a sheer delight and so simple to make. Zingy, cosy, a great way to detox or swap your usual caffeine and with 1 portion of fruit in the pot, another easy way to get that #fiveaday.
The last of the five? Rosy Pomegranate Panna Cotta (1 portion per serving) – a great dinner party pud made in 10 minutes and set in just an hour. Dusky pink and pillow soft set in a little coffee cup, served with some poached rhubarb in rose water.
Achieving 5 a day have never seemed so easy and Rachel’s book is filled with recipes for breakfast, fruit shakes, lunch, supper, health giving stews (Greek Penicillin) and tea time treats such as Apple Peanut Butter muffins. Think my Saturday might have to include the Spanakopita Toastie. If getting your five a day is as tasty as this, then I think that I could get used to more of it, dear Reader!
Do pop over to The Happy Foodie to take a look at all the #FIVEchallenges