A healthier eating regime in the new year doesn’t mean having to give up your favourite meals, according to Wiltshire cookery expert Androulla Derbyshire.
And, in the wake of the horse meat burger scandal, home cooking means you know what you’re eating too.
Supermarket shoppers have been shaken by today’s news (Wednesday) that horse and pig meat has been found in beefburgers on the shelves of Tesco and Iceland.
Androulla, whose Marlborough-based company Culinary Capers offers personal cookery tuition in people’s own kitchens, says such scandals make people think twice about food traceability.
“One of the best ways to ensure you’re eating the best quality food is to buy from a reputable butcher and cook from scratch,” said Androulla.
The cookery expert this week published a recipe for burgers, chips and shakes to demonstrate how affordable and easy home cooking can be.
To help people struggling with their new year’s resolutions to cut out junk food, she produced a range of recipes to replace the nation’s fast food favourites, including burgers, chicken, pizza, curry and oriental food.
“People who are struggling to stick to their new year’s resolution to eat more healthily, or just don’t know where to start, will find my easy-to-cook recipes invaluable,” said Androulla.
“Home cooked food is much better for you than ready meals or takeaways,” she said, “and I want to dispel the myth that it’s difficult, more time consuming, or more expensive to cook at home.
“How can people be expected to stick to diets when they don’t enjoy the food? I believe changing your culinary habits over the long term, and learning to enjoy making and eating your own meals, is the key to success.
“Cooking at home will also reduce the cost of feeding your family. My burgers, chips and shakes meal is tasty, nutritious, and costs less than eating at a fast food outlet. It’s better for you too, as a takeaway burger meal can contain your entire day’s quota of fat, sugar and salt.
“And you can prepare and cook my curry and rice from scratch in the same time as it takes to oven cook a supermarket ready meal. It’s better for you, too.”
Androulla launched Culinary Capers in 2012, after years in the catering industry and feeding a hungry family.
Unlike traditional cookery schools, Androulla offers a cookery experience tailor-made to her clients’ needs, using their kitchen and equipment, and teaching people to cook the food they enjoy – whether that’s eating for one or catering for a dinner party.
For more information log on to www.culinarycapers.co.uk or call 01672 511162
Recipe: Androulla’s burgers, chips and shakes for four
500g minced beef (I used lean minced beef with 20 percent fat in this recipe but use the best you can afford)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Fry the onion in the olive oil until it is soft. Cooking the onion first ensures it is soft and sweet. Add to the minced beef with the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and the egg.
At this point you can add any flavourings you like. I added 1 teaspoon of oregano and some ground cumin. You can add other dried herbs like thyme, and spices like cinnamon or ground coriander.
Mix well and then shape the burger mix into patties. Place in the fridge for half an hour to firm up. When you are ready to cook the burgers place them in a preheated griddle pan, grill or hot oven (gas 7, 200ᵒc) for about 4 minutes per side or to your liking.
Halve your burger buns and put your burger together with your choice of lettuce, tomato slices, mayo, ketchup, relish, gherkins or whatever you fancy.
Baked potato wedges
4 medium potatoes cut into chunky wedges
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Mix the olive oil, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper together and toss the wedges in the mixture to coat them all over.
Place on a baking tray in a hot oven (gas 7, 200ᵒc) for about 40 minutes until they are crisp and brown.
Healthy, chocolatey fruity shake
360ml plain Greek yoghurt
80 ml pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons runny honey
2 scoops of chocolate ice cream
Although this milkshake has some ice cream it is still a healthier option than a takeaway shake as the fruit is one of your five a day.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up to a smooth shake. You can add some ice cubes at the end and process again as this makes the shake nice and frothy.