Last Friday I was asked to waitress for a catering company that I have been working for for a few years now. Most jobs run through the same drill: arrive in black shirts and smart shoes, serve canapés, make sure everyone’s glass is topped up with Prosecco and clean up at the end. Last Friday’s shift, however, was a lot more exciting. We were catering for the Grazia10 event, held at the Getty Images Gallery. The exhibition celebrates the magazine’s ten-year anniversary with a series of talks on a variety of subjects over the three-week period.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard the speakers that were due to arrive at Friday’s event, ‘How to Eat Right for Now’. Some of my favourite health food bloggers and cooks, the Hemsley sisters, Ella Woodward, Natasha Corrett and Anna Jones. I’m not going to lie, I definitely felt rather star struck as I tidied the cloakroom as they arrived, one by one. The chef had prepared an amazing spread of canapés from each of the girls’ books; rice paper rolls with avocado dip, sweet potato frittata, chicken tamarind wraps and egg tarts, to name a few… and this was just the beginning. After the speech came the sweets; almond chai energy balls and, honestly, possibly the most delicious brownies I have ever tasted, so rich and so gooey it was hard to believe they were made using only healthy ingredients. This is what healthy eating is all about, not boring, tasteless leaves and greens but exciting and amazingly tasty foods, packed full of flavour and nutritious too.
As well as eating all this yummy food, I was also lucky enough to be allowed to sit in and listen to the talk… was I really being paid for this?! The girls discussed how they got in to cooking, their favourite ingredients and how eating natural, unprocessed foods can do wonders for your skin, hair and mood. One point I liked especially was Natasha’s 70/30 rule, 70 percent of the time eat well and the other 30 percent have what ever the heck you want. I think that it is so important to have this balance and allow yourself your favourite foods and drinks so that you are never depriving yourself of things you enjoy, as this will only leave you miserable.
When asked about their miracle product, the girls were initially reluctant to give just one answer, advocating the importance of eating a variety of foods. However, they soon all agreed on one… coconut oil. This is something I can agree on wholeheartedly. I’ve been using coconut oil for a while now as it gives the most delicious flavour to stir-fries, sautéed vegetables, eggs and pancakes. I have used it in baking and nut butters, in smoothies and dabbed it on my lips as a moisturiser! I have even mused over putting a spoonful in my coffee to make ‘bulletproof coffee’ (apparently an amazing energy booster), although I have yet to muster up the courage to try it. There is no denying that it’s an incredibly versatile product and I have big plans for it in future recipes.
One idea that I had yet to think of which the Hemsleys suggested, and which I tried the next morning, was stirring a spoonful in to a bowl of porridge. It gave my oats a really creamy texture and it tasted very exotic with the mashed banana I had also bunged in there. The benefit of this, they said, was that it adds some healthy fats to your porridge that will keep you satisfied for longer and means you aren’t craving something sweet half an hour later. I will be sure to make this a regular habit and I think any porridge lovers out there should give it a go too, you wont regret it.