Monthly Archives: February 2009

Through thick and thin

Those of you who have been reading the weekend papers will be aware that it is London Fashion Week this week: the circus that is fab frocks and (some famished) models has moved from New York to London for one frantic week.

I love fashion as much as the next girl, but not enough to write about it.

What I do want to talk about is food and the fact that London Fashion Week coincides with Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which runs from today (23rd) to the 28th of Feb.

Here at Savvy Cook we love eating good food and try and share some of that passion and knowlegde with our clients. One of the founding principles of the service was to show people that eating nutritious fresh food can be easy and delicious as well as life enhancing – and that is still applies today.

Looking after your wellbeing and giving your body the fuel it needs is a vital part of being healthy.

Unfortunately, for some people this may all be well and good but they have been caught up in a vicious circle of what the professionals call “disordered” eating: eating too little, too much, all or some of the time which is seriously affecting their health and ability to make the most of life.

I can imaging that it must take an awful lot of courage to talk to someone if you find yourself in this situation.

To help people take the first step in finding help and support, Weight Matters are offering free consultations throughout the whole of Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

They can be contacted in confidence on 020 7499 8922, or e-mail info@weightmatters.co.uk.

Later this week I will share with your my personal top 10 super foods: the things I love eating which also happen to be delicious (I think so anyway) and incredibly good for you.

Have good week,

Monique

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A craving for tarragon

All of last week I kept thinking about tarragon – the aniseed flavoured herb, that is. Can’t explain why, I just really fancied cooking something with tarragon, so I did just that.

Usually, during the week we eat savvy meals and you could say that I am our most grateful, but critical client (although my husband is not far behind). It is great coming home after a long day knowing that there is a delicious meal waiting for you – real food which is ready in 20 minutes is hard to beat.

But at the weekend, or when we are entertaining, I really enjoy cooking something that takes a little more time. We had friends over for Sunday lunch and I decided to do this little gem of a dish which can be prepared in advance and then slowly reheated in the oven at 150C.

Chicken braised with red wine vinegar and tarragon (serves 4)

Ingredients

4 free-range chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks, skin-on
1 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp red wine vinegar
small knob of butter
100ml dry white wine
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved, green shoot removed
2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 sprigs of tarragon, chopped
seasalt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat the oil over high heat in a large non-stick frying pan
Add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown all over
Season with salt and pepper
Remove the chicken to a plate, spoon the fat out of the pan and add the butter and vinegar
Boil for 10 seconds
Return the chicken to the pan, add the white wine and boil for a few seconds
Add the garlic, tomato and tarragon
Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes
The chicken will be deliciously juicy and tender.

Taste and correct the seasoning, then serve with mashed potatoes or rice and a generous helping of green beans.

I hope you will give this recipe a go – it certainly hit the spot with us and cured me of my tarragon craving (for now).

Bon appetit,

Monique

Be my Valentine

What is romance?

I don’t think it is being crammed into your local restarant which has been set up to squeeze in as many “tables for two” as possible.

On the other hand what could be more romatic than preparing a delicious meal for your loved one – to eat at your own pace, with a good bottle of wine, in the comfort of your home?

Why not try Savvy Cook’s honey roast chicken recipe? It is easy and delicious and good for you.

Here are some ideas for easy starters and puds:

fresh shell-on prawns with (home made) mayonnaise; serve with fresh brown bread and butter and don’t forget finger bowls with a slice of lemon.

Parma ham or bresola curled over a base of rocket; trickle over some good olive oil.

pears baked in red wine; peel but leave the stalks on. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar per 4 pears and some good quality red wine; cook in a covered dish slowly in the oven at 150 C for about an hour and serve at room temperature with a dollop of creme fraiche.

A slab of good quality dark chocolate and some crystalised stem ginger; really good chocolate raises serotonin levels in the brain (making us feel happy) and it also contains phenylethylamine which is similar to the chemicals released in our bodies when we fall in love.

Have a wonderful 14th of Feb and bon appetit!

Monique

The CVFT500

Hi,

I thought tell you a bit more about the Courvoisier Future 500 initiative.

Last year, Courvoisier, in partnership with The Observer, led a search for the UK’s most innovative business brains and creative talent.

The search led to the creation of The Future 500 – a vibrant network of 500 of the UK’s most dynamic individuals.

So far, being part of the network has been really interesting for Savvy Cook; we have met a wide range of entrepreneurs, academics and creatives and are in discussion about possible collaborations.

Watch this space!

You can find us – and perhaps inspiration too – on http://www.cvft500.com.

We are in difficult times so it is heartening to see bright lights are still shining!

Monique

Welcome to the Savvy Cook blog!

Why deprive yourself when you really need cheering up? Cook something delicious!

Is there anything more therapeutic than cooking a delicious meal? The feeling of accomplishment, as well as the enjoyment factor, will perk you up and give you the opportunity to socialise with friends and family – itself a great way to making you feel better.

Make sure that you cook something that you know everyone is going to enjoy and ensure that you are cooking with fresh ingredients; eating fresh, unprocessed foods will make you feel better about yourself and boost you immune system

The seasonal recipe below is a good example of how to make the most of foods when they are in season and at the peak of their natural goodness: in this case anti-oxidant packed curly kale and citrus fruits are combined with rosemary and honey which have natural anti-bacterial properties.

This dish is a favourite amongst Savvy Cook clients – see how easy it is!

Honey roast chicken, lemon and rosemary potatoes, curly kale with horseradish

Chicken is an excellent source of protein and provides many of the B vitamins which have a wide variety of important functions in the body, helping to keep it functioning healthily. Kale is an excellent source of β-carotene and vitamin C and other compounds that may help to protect the body from cancer. Of all the vegetables, kale is one of the richest sources of calcium, supplying the mineral in a form that can be easily absorbed by the body.

Nutritional analysis

Energy (kcal)  428   Protein (g)  41 Fat (g)  10   Of which saturates (g)  4 Carbo-hydrate (g)  46  Of which  sugars (g)  24  Fibre (g) 3   Sodium (mg)  165  Salt (g) 0.4

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 free-range chicken breasts, skin-on
  • 3 lemons, washed and rinsed and cut into quarters
  • 4 tbsp of clear honey
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves of 2 sprigs finely chopped and the other 2 sprigs cut in half
  • 600g small potatoes, washed but not peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt
  • 200g curly kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp of grated horseradish (Savvy Cook likes English Provender)

Cooking instructions

1.    pre-heat the oven to 220C

2.    in a large bowl, using your hands mix the potato quarters with the olive oil, pepper and olive oil

3.    pour the potatoes into a single layer into a non-stick oven tray

4.    place the chicken breasts in the bowl you used for the potatoes, swirl around the bowl to soak up the remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then place the chicken on top of the potatoes

5.    spread a table spoon of honey over each chicken fillet, decorate with half a rosemary sprig per fillet and squeeze the lemon quarters over the chicken; leave the empty quarters in the tray for extra flavour

6.    bake the chicken for 25 minutes, until cooked through and golden; to test that the chicken is done, cut onto the thickest part of the fillets: there should be no pink meat visible.

7.    in the meantime, boil the kettle and place the curly kale in a medium saucepan with lid

8.    place the pan over high heat and add a splash of boiling water, replace the lid and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

9.    drain the kale in a colander then return to the pan, add the butter and horseradish to the and keep warm until needed

10.    to serve, divide the potatoes and chicken over serving plates, pour over the juices from the tray and serve with the curly kale

Bon appetit!

Monique