Friday, October 31, 2014

Food Revolution Ambassador Monthly Challenge: October 2014

A lot of you may be aware that a couple of weeks back I became part of the Food RevolutionAmbassador team and I can’t be happier. I am looking forward to working towards food education for children and already making my little game plan to achieve the same.

One of the many things that we as Food Ambassadors aspire to do are the monthly challengesAt the beginning of each month the challenges are announced. These challenges are for inspiring the entire team and to make deeper connections with everyone (fellow food ambassadors, friends and family, anyone who wants to be a part of this challenge too), share our stories , whether we failed or conquered and more. The idea is to complete as many challenges as one can.

This was my first time and YAY I completed all three. Each of the three challenges come with a specific reason those that make you stop and think. Let me explain.

Challenge One: Using leftovers: Challenge submitted by Ambassador Alex in Cheltenham, UK. Make something awesome from what you have left in your fridge and/or cupboards without heading to the shops.

As a child I was always taught that wasting food was a complete no. Sure there will be leftovers but there is no reason why they can’t be turned into bestovers. This is one of the many things I learnt from my parents and would like to pass the same to my little chefling. Plus, clearing up the fridge before getting in fresh produce feels like therapy, right? Show off hands if you agree. Infact when it came to my mum, there was a designated day of the week (which would always be before she did her weekly groceries) when she would fill up this yellow round tupperware box with numerous compartments she had (still has!) with all the leftovers and announce dinner was ready. It is a grand buffet she would add. 

Do you turn your leftovers into bestovers or serve up a buffet for your family or freeze it for a later date? I’d love to hear how you minimize food wastage at your homes.

For the leftover challenge, I put together this lettuce chicken wrap. With Diwali just two days away I was on a mission to finish all the leftovers to make space for Mithai (Indian Sweets) in our refrigerator. The Lettuce Chicken Wrap made from leftover roast chicken from the last night’s dinner, two halves of bell peppers threatening to go bad, a lonely onion caramelized, pomegranate seeds and pinenuts for some crunch and a yoghurt dip. I am now addicted to lettuce wraps of any kind.

Challenge Two: Scare yourself this Halloween. With Halloween just around the corner, why not try out a recipe that has always scared you, whether it is because you are not sure your family will like it, or it uses techniques that you have never tried before. Halloween doesn’t just have to be about scary ghouls and junk food; let us know what real food recipes you’ll be conquering for the first time!

I loved this take on Halloween. Do one thing that scares you every day they say. What a beautiful thought to make Halloween more meaningful! The thing is I cook and bake a lot and more often than not people assume that when you write food stories and put out all of your cooking out on the blog you must be able to make everything. Right? Wrong. We all have our fears when it comes to the kitchen and mine is making pasta from scratch. Three years back (honestly, three years back) I got home a pasta maker and till date it has been in one little corner of my cupboard packed. When the year began I set out some food resolutions for myself and one of them was to finally open that box and use that pasta maker. This challenge made me conquer my fear and meet my resolution as well.

I decided to make this pumpkin goat cheese pasta. It is Halloween after all :) So much more better than the candy and sugar and salt loaded Halloween goodies out there. The scariest thing about Halloween for me is this sugar overload and ever since we started being part of Halloween last year I have made little attempts to give the kids a chance to observe it with real food. Sweet mandarins last year, boiled eggs with scary faces this year. This pasta too.

Challenge Three: Corn chowder. Make our recipe of the month, the hearty corn chowder. We have been talking about comfort food recently with the launch of Jamie’s new book and we think that this corn chowder is up there with some of the best comfort foods! Try it at home, teach it to friends,take it to work to share with colleagues… however you make it and whatever variations you use due to culture, season or taste preference – let us know by sharing your photos and recipes.

Like so many of you, I too am huge fan of Jamie’s approach to real food and how if we decide to eat healthy cooking up a complete meal is a matter of few minutes. We often eat unhealthy food in the garb of comforting our hearts and souls. Tired after long hours at work lets order in a cheesy thing,  fought with a friend time for a tub of icecream, nursing a cold the ghee laden paranatha is a must and more. While there is nothing wrong in eating any of the above but making it a bit healthier is always a big YES in my dictionary.

This chowder was really simple to put together and just what I needed after a stream of guests at home and nonstop cooking & hosting post Diwali. I wanted something effortless, filling and comforting, something that would literally come together on its own and I could just put my feet up on the coffee table and watch reruns of MasterChef on TV all alone. A one pot meal that used milk and not cream that a corn chowder usually would have. That made me happier. I added some bacon for some crunch and well because bacon either you love bacon or you are wrong :)

Till we meet again. Eat real. Stay healthy.

Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission.Just ask! 

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