Tag Archives: healthy

Food For Health Award Winners at The Good Food Market, St Katharine Dock

18 Dec

As winter gets colder, wetter and altogether gloomier, nothing warms the heart more than delicious food. The time for chilled sandwiches and salads is definitely over … rain showers and chilly winds disrupted October and November is proving to be just as dismal.

If the thought of devouring greasy junk food or a bland ready meal for lunch makes your appetite plummet, take a short stroll from Tower Hill Station to St Katharine Docks. Every Friday, tourists, local residents and nearby office workers converge upon Marble Quay to sample and buy award-winning, gourmet dishes at street food prices from The Good Food Market.

It’s the only market hosting traders in receipt of a coveted Tower Hamlets Food For Health award. Usually reserved for restaurants and cafés, the accolades can only be earned by adopting the rigorous standards required for healthy catering and overall nutrition. Prepared to strict hygiene laws and with an emphasis on wellbeing, the market’s dishes defy the boring image of healthy food in the UK – from Rummanco’s outstanding Jamaican Patties, Jerk Chicken and Curried Goat to the most tantalising, hearty Ethiopian stews from Redtent Enterprises.

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Try tucking into a delicious Palestinian Falafel Wrap from ChikP, crammed with tasty, vegan falafels with moist, fluffy centres. Alternatively, Adi Best Burgers make all their juicy patties with farm assured, British beef and Fins & Trotters – winner of the London Lifestyle Awards 2013 Street Food Vendor of the Year – serves up traditional Fish and Chips.

Visit Panka’s stall for a taste of original Peruvian cuisine, or explore traditional Portugese fare instead, from Taste of Portugal. You can also opt for meat or vegetarian Paella – studded with mouth-watering, fresh ingredients – from Mediterranean Paella, or spicier Asian dishes from Fab’s Thai Cuisine.

If you’re in a rush and in need of a quick bite, Chango creates moreish Argentine Empanadas with assorted fillings – easy to hold and devour without cutlery – or pick up a filled crêpe from Crepes N More. There are also Argentine Steak Sandwiches from Criollo Grill; Duck Confit’s self-titled speciality served in French bread; and a Famous Chorizo Sandwich, with roasted red peppers and rocket, from Gourmet Chorizo.

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Almost all hot food traders at The Good Food Market have earned a Food For Health award, with exceptions being newcomers who have yet to be assessed. The organisers of the weekly event, Shepherds Markets, take food provenance and nutrition seriously, so each trader is carefully vetted before approval to join the weekly line-up. Quality and taste are critical requirements, so it’s unsurprising that one of the latest additions is the Seriously Italian team, whose handmade pasta – produced with 100% British durum wheat – was honoured with a Great Taste Award earlier this year.

With such an array of hot food that’s healthy, satisfying and flavoursome, gone are the days of struggling through a pre-packed sandwich or a bowl of lukewarm soup – just visit The Good Food Market every Friday to indulge in an award-winning, decadent lunch instead!

The Good Food Market takes place every Friday, from 11:30am until 3:30pm at Marble Quay, London, E1W 1UH.

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REVIEW: Chocolates by The Chocolatier (Aneesh Popat)

24 Oct

One of the highlights of Salon du Chocolat‘s London debut was Aneesh Popat’s impassioned talk and tasting session, introducing his exquisite chocolates and ganaches.

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Aneesh Popat at Salon du Chocolat

Applying chemistry to his art and challenging tradition – much like a certain Mr Blumenthal – Popat has quickly made a name for himself with his unorthodox techniques and experimental flavours.

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Talking chocolate with evangelical passion: Aneesh Popat

“Chocolate is a superfood and we should eat it everyday!” proclaimed the artisan chocolatier during his fervoured presentation – immediately gaining my approval and agreement. Not that I need any encouragement to partake in a daily chocolate fix: I’ve had that one down pat since I was seven!

However, I now have a reason to feel less guilty… Under the brand name of The Chocolatier, Popat produces his critically-acclaimed confectionery without any cream or butter – making them far healthier alternatives to other chocolates on the market.

Able to produce the most velvety creations using only chocolate and water (the trick is in the emulsification process and the generation of small particles), Popat’s dairy-free treats contain approximately 40% to 50% less calories than traditional chocolate. Depending on if you’re a glutton or a weight-watcher, you can choose to eat twice as much or stick to a healthy diet. I’m Team Glutton all the way!

Despite these vegan roots, the omission of dairy in no way impairs the flavour or quality of Popat’s chocolates or ganaches (believe me, my palette can detect even the slightest flaw within my fix of chocolate). In fact, so delicious are these dairy and gelatine free truffles, it’s not unusual to find them being showcased within Michelin-starred restaurants; a testament to the quality and flavour of The Chocolatier range.

Surprisingly, Popat isn’t from a science or food background … the former Mathematics graduate (he earned his degree at Nottingham university) went on to study Philosophy, in India, before returning to the UK to launch The Chocolatier, only two and a half years ago.

Pining for Fir Tree Truffles (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun)? Or how about a delicious Baked Bean Truffle instead … all the flavour but without the gas and bloating afterwards? Popat produces these unconventional truffles using no more than chocolate, water, fruit or vegetable purees, herbs, spices and lots of science. Incidentally, the Fir Tree Truffles were flavoured by obtaining a pine tree, removing the needles, boiling them and capturing the aroma (steam) to infuse with the chocolate. I told you the dude liked chemistry.

For the tasting session at Salon du Chocolat, Popat presented three unique flavours to sample, beginning with a smooth, sensuous Raw Coconut Bean which, Popat revealed, wasn’t tempered above 42 degrees to ensure its delightful texture and flavour: another nugget of science for you.

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Raw Coconut Bean Truffles by The Chocolatier

Our second treat was an eye-wateringly acidic Beetroot, Red Wine Vinegar and Hazelnut ganache (the first bite was mild but the second packed one heck of a punch). All the flavours came through in stages, unfolding like a three course meal, reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s bubblegum – quirky and definitely fun!

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Beetroot, Red Wine Vinegar & Hazelnut Truffle by The Chocolatier

To finish, we devoured a marvellous Mince Pie Truffle, produced with an actual Mince Pie (pastry included) and caramelised banana ganache – a triumph and my favourite treat of the day!

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Mince Pie Truffle by The Chocolatier

Provenance, of course, is paramount to The Chocolatier and his ingredients are all carefully sourced, including working with chocolate brand Duffy’s original beans to produce a truffle especially for Salon du Chocolat. I would’ve expected nothing less from such a master of chocolate.

Quirky, fun, decadent and healthy, The Chocolatier‘s confectionery deserves to be on any Christmas wish list this December. It’s the ideal gift: you can eat them as an indulgent treat during the festive period or hold off until January, when you’re trying to lose the extra kilos you’ve gained from troughing through all that turkey, stuffing and cake. Now, it’s not often I get to say that about chocolate!

INTRODUCING: Happy Greens Smoothies

16 Jun

Today I was one of the privileged few who were asked to sample a new smoothie range from Happy Greens.

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The Hackney based producer uses spinach as a key ingredient to create delicious, healthy and fresh flavour combinations that just happen to be the colour of Robin Hood’s tights! As these drinks aren’t pasteurised like many other smoothie brands on the market, you get a fully charged, vitamin-packed dose of raw fruit and vegetables to keep your mojo boosted and your vitality in tact. It’s an easy way to get one of your recommended ‘5-a-day’.

I sampled two flavours: the first was light, sweet and flavoursome, adding banana, mango and kiwi to Popeye’s favourite snack. The second paired spinach with lime (rind, pulp and flesh) to deliver a zesty and revitalising energy injection to help kickstart the day.

Watch out for the imminent launch of Happy Greens smoothies in shops and eateries across London. Remember where you heard it first…