Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Low carb London- Crussh fitfoods

I've been thinking for a little while that I'd like to start keeping a little record of places in London (and elsewhere) where you can easily find vegetarian low carb food and couldn't think of a better place to start than this place. There are Crussh fit food outlets dotted all over London and, very conveniently for me, there is one where I work so I frequent there very very regularly (more regularly than I should...)

They are mostly a takeaway sort of place, even though lots of them have places you can sit in, so the food doesn't come served on crockery and the drinks don't come in glasses- you may not like this, if I'm honest I don't when I'm eating out and prefer a proper glass and plate for aesthetic as well as environmental reasons (ok probably more for the aesthetic ones but I digress). Looking at their website it seems their ethos is geared towards the 'healthy fastfood revolution', so for the most part the food is designed to be bought and eaten outside of the shop.

What I obviously love the most about them is the huge range of low carb options, even when you're trying to keep your carbs really low. They have plenty of options with less than 10g and even less than 5g of carbs per portion.

They sell a wide variety of foods, including breakfast and lunches but also lots of snacks, juices and smoothies. My favourites, though, have to be the healthpots. The healthpots are little pots of goodness with a wide variety of tastes and flavour combinations that just feel a little bit different to ones you find in other places.

My absolute favourite currently is the chargrilled cauliflower with pomegranate and tahini dressing one. This one  has only 6g of carbs and 181 calories per portion and is absolutely delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I have kept one of my empty pots of it as it has the ingredients underneath, so I can try and make it at home! I'll let you know how I get on with that one, though need to source olive pomace oil first...



My other current favourite is the kale pesto, goats cheese and chilli courgetti healthpot (also seen below). Now, quite what I am doing buying courgetti when I make it almost every day at home is another matter, but this one has 116 calories and under 5g carbs per portion and tastes amazing.



Also worthy of mentions are the little fit egg packs, which consist of scrmabled eggs either alone or with feta, herbs and chilli, and also little boiled egg packs with avocado, sumac, paprika and watercress which are perfect for keeping in your bag and snacking on when times get tough.

They also do a green juice the 'veggie greens' that has under 5g carbs per regular serving, and if you've tried to find low carb juice before, you'll know that's pretty rare!


Yesterday though I grabbed these two beauties and took advantage of the lovely weather and grabbed 10 minutes to eat them in the park and took in the view. There really is nothing more lovely than England in the Autumn.


Their website contains their full menu alongside all of their ingredients and nutritional information.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Northchurch farm shop

So excited I was with this latest little find that I couldn't wait to share it with you.  Northchurch farm shop is part of Sunnyside Rural Trust who work in Hertfordshire with adults with learning disabilities, training them in different aspects of horticulture. They have two sites, one in Hemel Hempstead, and the other in Northchurch just near Berkhamstead.

I couldn't have picked a nicer day to visit the Northchurch site, the sun was shining and I had a good feeling about it right from when I drove past the allotments and saw the entrance.




The vegetables come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours. 


I went at the end of the day and the selection wasn't huge, as it depends on how much has been bought that day and how much they harvested that morning. Despite that I still managed to pick myself plenty of goodies.

A little tip from the man there-the best day to go is Wednesday (or after that) as that's when they harvest. You can also visit their stall on Berkhamstead market on a Thursday morning.


 
Bottles of apple juice, made from the apples from the apple trees growing on site


Eggs, as local as they come, from their own chickens just metres away. 

 
A small selection of reasonably priced wooden goods, including this lovely butterfly box for only £10

As you leave the shop you can have a little wander round their very rustic herb garden



Garlic chives flowering again



 
Lots of pumpkins, was so tempted to get one but hardly ever cook with pumpkins though I think I may do soon, as they're relatively low in carbs. Note to self; think of something pumpkin-y to cook. I do keep toying with the idea of making this yummy looking pumpkin and goats cheese zoodle dish I saw on the Londoner the other week.
 


 Courgettes, obviously got a few of these as you can never have too many in this zoodle loving house



Once you've finished you drive back through the allotments and go on your way, though next time I think I may park at the top of the road and walk through them, as they're so lovely and full of such lovely colours, like these dahlias...


Sunflowers





 
Lots and lots of apple trees ready to turn into the apple juice they sell in the shop.

It's definitely well worth a visit if you're nearby, just past the canal, you'll see the sign for the allotments, drive all the way through the allotments and park at the bottom next to the poly tunnels and fill your boots with lots of fresh, organic produce.
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Monday, 12 October 2015

Zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, basil and feta


This is the most delicious recipe that has two obvious benefits for me at the moment; the first is that it's very quick (if you subtract the time the tomatoes are roasting for), and the second is that it's very good at helping me get through the millions of tomatoes that all seem to be ripening at roughly the same time. As, despite having about 10 tomato plants, they all have basically only started producing mature fruit in the last week or so, so I'm now inundated after having to buy tomatoes for a lot of the summer because I'd grown so impatient waiting for mine to ripen.

Anyway, I digress. You can roast the tomatoes in advance (if you're eating it cold as a salad, or just heat them up quickly in a frying pan if you're eating it hot) or do them on demand for this recipe. I always think once you're roasting one thing you may as well do lots as they always get eaten. This recipe is also great for using up whatever you have in, at our house we always have courgettes/ zuchini zuchinni zucchini (why is that so hard to spell), tomatoes, garlic and oil in, and that's all you really need for this, oh and some cheese, I used feta but most would do, and of course you don't need it, I just think it adds something to most tomato based dishes.

zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, feta and basil

So I'll get on with it then, as discussed above, you will need:
  • About two handfuls of cherry tomatoes- other tomatoes are of course fine, but I prefer cherry ones for their sweetness. I used a bit of a random mixture here.
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • One courgette/ zucchini
  • A small handful of basil
  • Feta (or cheese of your choice for the top)
  • A glug of olive oil (subjective measurement)
Making it is basically foolproof:
  • Pop your tomatoes on a  baking tray, chop them in half, or if they're large tomatoes chop them to roughly the size of half a cherry tomato. Small ones can be left intact
  • Pour your olive oil over and season well
  • Pop half your basil on, and the garlic cloves (leave skins on) and mix well together so everything's covered in the oil

roasting cherry tomatoes with basil and garlic

  • While they're cooking, spiralize your courgette, if you don't have a spiralizer, use a julienne peeler or use a vegetable peeler to peel thin strips from all the way round discarding the centre. 

zoodles

  •  Remove the tomatoes from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes (only a couple-not too long as you want to keep the heat), remove the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic out of them and discard the skin

cherry tomatoes just roasted with garlic and basil

  • Now's the time to act fast. To save heating up your zoodles which I don't really bother doing anymore, add the hot tomatoes straight to the zoodles 

zoodles with roasted tomatoes

  • Mix them into the zoodles well, I do this with my hands as it's the best way to mix them in well and that's why I said to wait till they've cooled a little bit, as those tomato centres can be hot (learnt that lesson the hard way). The tomatoes should be sufficiently hot to warm the zoodles through. If you still wanted it a little bit hotter you could then pop the whole lot in a frying pan of wok for a few minutes, keeping it moving though being gentle at the same time. 
  • Once you've done that, add the remaining basil and you're done! 

zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic and basil

  • Unless of course you're adding the cheese, in which case, crumble that over the top and then you're finished! 
  • This is delicious cold as well, eaten as a salad so make double and take some in for work the next day, or keep some in the fridge for those insatiable just got home from work and need to eat immediately moments (just me?!)

zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, feta and basil

zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, feta and basil

zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, feta and basil

zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, feta and basil


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Monday, 5 October 2015

Grove pick your own (pyo) farm, Bedfordshire


I love growing and picking my own fruit and vegetables but my garden is quite lacking and my gardening skills even more so. Imagine my delight then, when I found this extensive pick your own (pyo) farm just a few miles from where I live.

Grove farm is a large (over 80 acres) pick your own farm growing over 30 varieties of fruit and vegetables situated just outside Leighton Buzzard. It is well worth a visit just for how picturesque it is, even if you don't really want to pick anything, though once you're there it's hard not to get stuck in! We pottered on over on a sunny September day last week and I felt compelled to share it with you!

There's quite a lot of pictures in this post, so I'm mostly going to let them do the talking.








The sunflowers are so huge, I tried to get this across in the pictures but it was so hard, some of them literally towered over me!





Rows and rows of sweetcorn! A lot more rustic looking than any you'll find in the supermarket.










Potatoes, I pretty much stayed away from these, because a. I try and stay away from potatoes for carb reasons, but also b. I didn't want to walk over the soil as I was wearing very inappropriate footwear!



Onions- I don't think I'd ever really appreciated how long an onion can be, and look at those lovely white flowers- so pretty!



I certainly didn't stay away from these bad boys! I love round courgettes and they're usually pretty hard to find, and super expensive when you do find them. the courgettes were stuffed my favourite way and the flowers, stuffed with ricotta and herbs and then fried and popped atop a salad - more of this in a future post!



Cucumbers, I bought four of these and they came to less than £1- such a bargain! Much tastier than their supermarket counterparts also.








Rows and rows of runner beans, now there was no sign up saying you couldn't take the flowers so a few may have found their way into my bag... These again went on a salad and looked beautiful!


Garlic remnants, again so cheap, four cloves came to just under 40p!



Raspberries, these have been out of season but just come back, I got to these pretty near the end of our trip so didn't have the energy (or my glasses on) to forage for many of these, they're also pretty popular so best to go early in the day for these.
 



Plums, I don't think you're allowed to pick these but there's lots already picked for you to buy.




 


Lots of unusual shapes of carrots, didn't actually pick one traditional shaped one.


If you're not in a foraging mood there's plenty to buy that's already been freshly picked and at a very reasonable price.


We'd been there so long that by the time it was time to leave the season had changed to autumn!

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