Food: Davina’s Kitchen Favourites | Daily Mail Online
Brilliant sugar-free, no-fuss recipes to enjoy together
Hello everyone, and welcome to my kitchen – my fave place. A place of chat, laughter, heart-to-hearts and lots and lots of cooking!
I’ve got to a stage in life now where I want to concentrate on the things that really matter. For me, that’s being with the ones I love and feeding them satisfying and healthy food.
My new recipe collection comes from the heart. It’s about family cooking and that can include everyone, and anyone we love – relatives, friends or a neighbour who lives on their own and may be fed up with cooking meals for one. These recipes are the ones I make because they’re simple. They don’t have lots of ingredients or cooking stages – and there’s as little washing up as possible, honest!
Now the healthy bit… It’s a tricky word, ‘healthy’, but if you tune out the nonsense and the fad diets and pseudo-science, there are clear nutritional rules that will help us all live longer and better. From giving our kids the best start in life to making sure our beloved grannies and grandpas are getting the nutrients they need to stay strong and trim, the message is the same. And that message is clear: no refined sugar and fewer processed foods.
So that is what Davina’s Kitchen Favourites is all about: great food for any age. Food that will feed our bodies, minds and souls and won’t take too long or much effort to cook. Share the love, show you care and get ready to do some cooking. #sharethelove
Savoury French toast
DAVINA’S KITCHEN RULES
You know me – I’m not a nutritionist, but I have talked to the experts and I want to share what they’ve taught me. Along with my exercise routines, their rules have worked to keep me trim and happy and helped me feed everyone great food. I’ve discovered some cheats along the way, too, that mean I don’t dread the chore of cooking – I love it! This is what I’ve learnt in a nutshell and the way my family eats now. I promise you there is no compromise in taste or satisfaction.
♥ We’ve stopped adding refined sugar to drinks and food.
♥ We avoid processed foods and foods with ‘hidden sugar’.
♥ We’ve cut out refined white carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice and white pasta.
♥ We eat loads of fresh vegetables and fruit, pulses, eggs, some meat and fish and some dairy.
♥ We opt for brown rice, brown pasta and wholemeal or spelt flour.
♥ We make puddings and cakes with naturally sweet ingredients such as fruit and veg, or, for a treat, we add some maple syrup or honey.
Chickpea and chard curry; Mediterranean shoulder of lamb
MY BEST BREAKFAST
We eat a lot of eggs in our house. They are yummy as well as full of the goodness, minerals and protein that we all need in order to stay strong and healthy and stave off snacking later in the morning. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that eggs are the best breakfast food ever. I totally love them. I’ve read recently that people who eat eggs for breakfast go on to consume fewer calories during the rest of the day, so that has to be good! Obviously simple egg dishes such as omelettes are perfect, but in the book I include some of my other faves, which you might like to try for a weekend brunch, such as delish Huevos Rancheros and the Savoury French Toast. When you don’t feel like eggs or if you are vegan, try my tacos – they’re in the book and they are amaaaaaaazing! (My daughters have gone vegan so there are lots of vegan options in the book.)
TIME IS SOOOOO PRECIOUS
My kitchen habits have changed over the years. Now I like to know exactly what I’m eating – and that means no ready meals. The great news is that this doesn’t have to mean that cooking is a chore or recipes have to take ages to put together. You’ll find plenty of meals in the book that can be prepared in minutes and don’t take too long to cook either. Save those that need a bit more time for weekends or when you feel like spending longer in the kitchen. Processed foods sometimes offer a tempting solution, but they’re expensive and ultimately not great for our health or our waistlines. Throwing together healthy meals is much easier if you have the right ingredients – such as cans of beans, frozen veg and packets of lentils – in your fridge, freezer and cupboards, and doesn’t have to take ages. I like to batch cook, too. I make a big pot of tomato sauce, baked beans or soup and stash some in the freezer for those nights when I’m extra rushed. And I’ve found that having some bags of cooked chickpeas, beans and even quinoa in the freezer is a huge help. They defrost quickly and make putting together a quick meal super easy.
Penne and sausage bake
COUNT THEM ON YOUR FINGERS – ONLY 10 INGREDIENTS OR FEWER PER RECIPE!
Are you put off by the long, long recipes with long, long ingredients lists? I am, so in the book I’ve simplified everything but with no cost to taste, flavour or satisfaction. We’ve kept the recipes to ten ingredients (very occasionally 11 or 12), but they’re still just as amaaaazing. We felt that was about the right number for making sure the dishes are yummy and interesting but not too much of a faff. All the ingredients are things you will find in the supermarket – there may be a few less familiar items but nothing crazy you have to search for on the internet. We don’t include salt, pepper, olive or vegetable oil in the ingredients lists so check your stocks of those before starting to cook.
A FEW COOKING NOTES
♥ Peel garlic, onions and other vegetables unless otherwise specified. The weights given in the ingredients lists are the peeled weight.
♥ Stock is easy and cheap to make and you will find recipes for vegetable and chicken versions in the book. But if you run out or don’t have time, use the good readymade fresh stocks you can buy in supermarkets now. Heat the stock first before adding it to your other ingredients – it saves lots of time.
♥ I like to use free-range chicken and eggs whenever I can, but that’s your call.
♥ In the book I’ve flagged up vegetarian and vegan recipes and noted where others can be made vegetarian by leaving out certain ingredients. Where cheese is included in a vegetarian recipe, be aware that some cheeses such as Parmesan are not suitable for vegetarians, but there are plenty of vegetarian alternatives available in supermarkets now.
Lime sandwich cake; Banana and peanut butter ice cream
CALORIES – TO COUNT OR NOT TO COUNT
Opinions on calorie counting have swung back and forth in recent years. At one time it was the way to lose weight, then experts started coming up with all sorts of other ideas – eating only certain foods, eating at particular times of day, intermittent fasting and so on. But in the end we’ve all come round to the realisation that there must be a balance between what goes in and what comes out, between the calories you consume and the energy you use. I used not to be a fan of calorie counting but now I have realised that it is helpful to keep a check on my intake and I know lots of people find the same. So I’ve included calorie counts for all the recipes and you will find full nutritional info at the back of the book, noting the carbohydrate, fat, protein, sugar and salt content of each recipe. So it’s up to you. If you or a loved one want to calorie count, you can eat the recipes in the book that work with your daily calorie allowance and know that you are getting a good, healthy and varied diet.
EXPLORE MY 5-WEEK PLAN
Cooking from the recipes in the book will help to keep you on the straight and narrow – avoiding added and refined sugar and refined carbs and eating plenty of smart carbs, veggies and lean protein. And if you want to lose weight, have a look at my 5-week plan at the back of the book for menus that will gradually reduce your calorie count and your sugar intake.
SAVE 20 PER CENT ON DAVINA’S NEW BOOK
Davina’s Kitchen Favourites will be published by Seven Dials on Thursday, price £20. As well as loads of nutrition advice and useful info, chapters include: breakfast and brunch; lunch on the run; family suppers; save time, save money; slow down, and puddings and bakes, plus essential basics and a 5-week plan to help you lose weight. To order a copy for £16 until 4 March, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.