Melting Pot: Superheroes

Power up for serving superfoods 

Healthier eating is the most important current trend affecting food menus. As the nation battles an obesity epidemic, the demand for healthier options when eating out of home is on the up and consumers are taking more of an interest into their health and wellbeing – with superfoods taking centre stage. 

From avocado to acai berries, salmon to spirulina, many diners are now shunning processed food in favour of nutrition-packed foodstuffs. So how can caterers embrace this trend and power up their menus? We asked several food super heroes to share their thoughts and ideas… 

George Rouse, owner of George’s Kitchens Superfoods are becoming increasingly popular – we’re becoming more conscious of our sugar intake, amongst other things. You don’t need to be a health guru to get some superfoods into your diet. At George’s Kitchen, I love using seaweed as a healthy alternative to salt. It’s one of the most mineralised vegetables on earth, so its incredibly nutritious. It’s also full of omega-3 and antioxidants, so I use it to transform even the simplest options, such as homemade garlic bread. I also like that it’s sustainably farmed, so it’s good for you as well as the environment. 

Zara Khan, chef at all-day café Feya in central London (feya.co.uk) Superfoods are a great way to get a substantial dose of nutrients and vitamins and can easily be incorporated into the diet. The easiest way to do this on-the-go is by incorporating some superfoods into smoothies and breakfast bowls, which we do here at Feya. Blue Spirulina is one of the trending superfoods and we use it for our smoothie bowls and lattes as well as dragon fruit, matcha and turmeric which all come in powdered form. If you prefer eating your superfoods then you can toss together a healthy salad with some kale, quinoa, avocados, salmon and sprinkle with flax seeds for a superfood boost 

Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle, near Edinburgh I believe all vegetables should be classified as superfoods and I am always looking for different leafy greens to incorporate into my dishes. I love incorporating spices like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and cumin which gives a big impact on flavour but also provide many different health benefits. As a proud Scotsman I am obviously passionate about organics oats. These little beauties are so good for us that I try and convince all our guests to start or finish their stay with us with a large healthy bowl of slow-cooked oats with chia seeds and a health drink containing wheat germ. The more fresh food we can consume the better we will feel. 

Marie Medhurst, sales director at Bannisters Yorkshire Family Farm Sweet potatoes are among the world’s most nutritious vegetables – no wonder they’ve become a fixture of healthy lifestyles. They’re packed with fibre and minerals and contain high levels of vitamins A and C, making them a rich source of nutrition for people of all ages. Turn baked sweet potatoes or skins into a superfood feast by topping them with beetroot, chilli peppers and walnuts; salmon, broccoli and spiced quinoa; grilled chicken with almonds and rocket; or king prawns with avocado, lemongrass and poached egg. Serve with a mixed bean salad, pomegranate seeds and fresh tomatoes for a power lunch. 

Dr Craig Rose, AKA Doctor Seaweed, marine biologist and wild seaweed harvester Seaweed has been recently credited by Jamie Oliver for his weight loss. It’s a naturally rich source of iodine that helps to control the body’s metabolism. Unfortunately, 66% of women in the UK have a diet insufficient in iodine. Seaweed has a vital role in creating a more sustainable food chain whilst improving our general wellbeing. There’s an ongoing education process to bring seaweed into the mainstream. However, I anticipate that we’ll see more menus introducing seaweed; not only for its numerous health benefits but as a natural flavour enhancer which is obviously a key issue for chefs. We’ll soon all realise that seaweed isn’t weird – it’s wonderful. 

Dominika Piasecka, The Vegan Society www.vegan society.com Vegan meals lend themselves very well to incorporating superfoods and often constitute a safe dietary choice for everyone. Vegan superfoods can easily be added to dishes and many menu items can be ‘veganised’ by removing or replacing non-vegan ingredients. For example, avocado or green leafy vegetables fit into any salad while nuts, seeds and berries are very useful in vegan baking. Seaweed and kelp are great additions to Japanese- and Korean-inspired dishes including sushi, soups and stir-fries. Smoothies can be vegan vitamin bombs – everything from fruit and vegetables to seeds and powders can be added. 

Amanda Woodvine, chief executive, Vegetarian for Life www.vegetarian forlife.or.uk Much research has focused on the diets of people who make it past the 100-years-old mark (centenarians). A high intake of legumes – all kinds of beans, including peas, chickpeas, and lentils – might be protective. It’s certainly true of the Japanese with their tofu, natto and miso based on soya beans; the Swedes with their brown beans and peas; and Mediterranean dwellers with their lentils, chickpeas and white beans. Aiming for three servings a day is easier than you think; adding lentils to soups, hummus made from chickpeas, mixed bean chilli or even black bean chocolate brownies are ways to include them in your diet. 

James Davidson, executive chef, Rich Sauces Superfoods, proteins, grains, complex carbs are all not just buzz words, people now are savvier about food and what they are putting into their bodies, myself included! Fun, tasty and nutritional alternatives to fast food and sandwich options are key. Things like salmon, broccoli, rabe, avocados, kale, almonds, are all in the superfood category and would make a fantastic meal. Using a rapeseed based dressings like citrus & white balsamic dressing is ideal as it contains both omega 3 and 6. Adding things like quinoa to help bulk it out is also a healthier option. Helping the consumer to feel like they have eaten plenty and are full for longer. 

Sam Rain, HB Ingredients development chef and Sosa brand ambassador Make your own superfood bars using oats, protein crispies, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachio nibs, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, combined with butter and honey. For a vegan friendly alternative, substitute the butter for coconut oil and the honey for golden syrup. I also add in some Sosa beetroot powder, which not only adds wonderful colour but also gives sweetness to the recipe. This is an ideal base recipe which can be taken and changed for your favourite nuts or seeds. The full recipe is online at www.stiritupmagazine.co.uk/recipes. 

Jayne Austen-Goacher, owner of Black Radish in Hove www.blackradish-organic.com Soup and super food are the perfect marriage in my opinion. Simple, fresh, healthy and totally tasty the humble soup can be a nutritious, filling and lovely thing. I never use cream or sugar; all you need is fresh, quality vegetables, a little seasoning and imagination to play with combinations. A customer favourite is sweet potato. Brimming with Vitamin A, it’s important for vision and protecting the immune system. Gently roast them until soft, sauté onions, garlic, and chilli, add a little dash of light coconut milk, sea salt, pepper and blend. 

Top tip: use good quality vegetable stock and ensure ingredients are thoroughly blended. 

>>Click here to read the rest of the August 2018 issue of Stir it up magazine << 

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