Freshly Frozen Food from Field Fare

I recently had the pleasure of being sent some samples from Field Fare who offer premium  frozen ready meals. Their meals are hand produced by specialists for authenticity and are oven ready which not only frees up time but hopefully gives tastes buds a treat too! I am always a little bit skeptical of frozen meals but I really wanted to try these because of the company’s positive ethos. Founded 40 years ago, in 1977, field fare launched a pioneering idea in independent retail. As a visionary in environmentalism and simplicity, the idea was high quality fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen direct from the field and sold loose by the scoop from branded freezers; with minimum packaging and waste, maximum nutrient, vitamin and mineral lock-in, zero additives or preservatives required and the flexibility for customers to economically take as little or as much as they wanted.  In November 2015 the company added its premium ready-meal range, each made in small batches using the quality and quantity of ingredients used in a domestic kitchen, locally sourced where possible.  I was sent the frozen pizza/focaccia dough which I sampled and was so easy to make and tasted good too. Here’s a picture of it in frozen form:

Field fare dough

The star of the show was the Spicy Bean Chilli which is an original recipe of kidney beans, chick peas and cannellini beans cooked in a rich tomato sauce with a jalapeno pepper kick and infused with cumin and a hint of smoked paprika.

Field Fare Spicy Bean Chilli Field Fare Spicy Bean Chilli

I have to say this was superb, I had mine with some rice and it was well spiced and seasoned, so much so that I did not have to add my own additional ingredients. It tasted freshly prepared from the hob as opposed to having been oven cooked from frozen in half an hour.

Field Fare only supports only supply independent  stores, mainly farm shops so visit their website to find out how you can get your hands on one of products,  I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

vapiano wardour street

The Vapiano Experience

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to review Vapiano as their guest with a companion. I was excited to receive this invitation as Vapiano had been on my list for a while, having seen it come up on my timeline organically on numerous occasions. It seems to be a popular restaurant, particularly with millennials in London and since I’m technically a millennial (anyone born from 1981) I had to be part of the Vapiano cool crowd too! Vapiano specialises in fresh pasta and pizza, made to order while guests wait so there is a “self service” element. Orders are paid for by smartcard so every guest gets their own bill which means that there are absolutely no awkward “split the bill” moments.

We arrived at the Wardour Street branch and were welcomed warmly with a full explanation of how the system works:  after deciding on your table and reviewing your menu you go to the appropriate food station and make your order with the chef who then cooks your order in front of you. You can make specific requests pertaining to ingredient inclusion which means that they can adapt dishes to your taste.

vapiano wardour street

vapiano wardour street

I had olives to nibble on before eating my strawberry spinach salad which consisted of fresh spinach, strawberries, goats’ cheese, red onions, pine nuts, raspberry-maple dressing. This was a surprise favourite! I had no idea that strawberries would work so well in a salad.


My companion had a hearty looking Caesar salad with generous portions of chicken.

Here’s a clip from the pizza station!

My risotto gamberetti e pomodoro made with king prawns, onions, tomato sauce, fresh basil pesto, a splash of white wine and Grana Padano D.O.P was tasty, wholesome and moreish. I requested for mine to be extra spicy and it certainly lived up to expectations.

vapiano risotto

The simplicity of each dish combined with the fresh ingredients makes their dishes a winning combination.

Vapiano doesn’t purport to be a high level Italian food connoisseur brand but they do good food well at a very reasonable price with fresh tasting ingredients and really generous sized portions. I eat with my eyes (which is why as a child my mother would sometimes say that my eyes are bigger than my belly), when I see food being prepared I just want more of it.

For me the next thing that Vapiano needs to do is launch an onsite hotel/BnB service so that I can live on the premises for a day or 2 and just eat. I wanted to order everything but alas time and physical restrictions meant that I couldn’t!

The atmosphere is warm and comfortable and layout is very easy to navigate. The service was very good and not just for me (as a reviewer), I made a point of taking notice at how other customers were being treated and from what I could see there is a generally friendly and prompt service.  It is perfect for casual dining, quick lunches, catch ups with friends and family.

Visit the Vapiano website to find out where you can try the Vapiano Experience.

Who’s For Dinner With Dale Pinnock, ‘The Medicinal Chef’?

 

Celebrity Chef Dale Pinnock AKA ‘The Medicinal Chef’ has been working as the Alaska Seafood ambassador to help raise awareness of the health benefits of wild seafood in the diet and to increase confidence in fish cookery. He is an advocate of seafood due to its rich nutritional constitution. He shares his culinary journey and career in this inspirational journey.

dale pinnock

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where does your love of food come from?

This has really been a lifelong love of food. From as far back as I can remember. I have always loved flavour and variety.

How did you start your career in food? Please describe your journey.

I have been cooking literally since the age of four, but actively working in the industry since I was 16. I have done every role in the restaurant from pot-washing and starters, through to head chef and also front of house. So working with food has been a big part of my life. In terms of the current way in which I work with food, the seeds were sown at a similar age when I battled with acne. I eventually started reading up on nutrition, read over a thousand books on it and became switched on to the fact that nutrition represented a way in which we can actually actively engage in our own health care. So I eventually went to University, my first degree was Human Nutrition, I then went on to do a second degree in Herbal Medicine, and finally a Post Graduate degree in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey.

You have recently become an ambassador for Alaska Seafood. Can you explain the reasons why?

It is no secret that I am a huge advocate of fish consumption. The more, the merrier. However, there is no escaping the fact that the quality of some of the fish on the mass market is very poor and there are so many issues – from my perspective – from sustainability, through to contamination, and nutritional quality of the end product that we, as consumers, should be aware of. This is where Alaska Seafood comes in.

For me, it is the Rolls Royce really of the seafood world.  It’s all wild caught fish that has eaten a natural diet of marine organisms and as such has the most superior nutritional quality, particularly in terms of omega 3 fatty acid content. Everything from salmon and pollock to halibut and black cod swim in some of the cleanest waters on the planet so contamination and the question of additives and preservatives etc isn’t really relevant.

 As a consumer, we are also having to think more long term about where food products come from. What we enjoy now – will it last forever? For Alaska – yes. I want to be able to buy wild seafood now, in ten years’ time and forever more and due to their strict fishing regulations and stock management, we will. It’s that simple.

What would you say has been your greatest food-related accomplishment to date?

 I think it is that my work has facilitated change in the lives of others. By writing books and talking about this subject on TV and Radio, it has enabled people to make changes that have improved their health. It is a true blessing to be able to do that.

dale pinnock

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

 This is quite hard to answer as the industry presents a new challenge every day. I think in recent times, the hardest challenge is getting heard above all of the faddism and social media driven noise, and stand out as a credible source of information, and not just another faddy social media health nut.

What is your favourite meal and why?

I think this is almost impossible to answer as I love so many different types of food. But I’m certainly a huge sushi fan. Good sushi is a thing of beauty. I also love South East Asian flavours like a Panang Curry, or Kari Laksa. I love seafood and I love intense flavours.

 Name three ingredients that you cannot live without?

 Wild salmon, garlic and red onions.

Who’s For Dinner with you? Who would you invite for a meal of a lifetime with you and why?

Wow, this is a great question. Here are my top three:

 

  •  The Dalai Lama – in a world that is made up of such material nonsense and utter confusion and soul searching, someone that can offer clarity and insight into some of the deepest questions we hold would be wonderful.
  •  Beres Hammond – I love his music.
  • Jamie Oliver – he is certainly a business powerhouse in the food world and there are a million things I’d like to pick his brain about

Follow Dale on Instagram @themedicinalchef

Follow Alaska Seafood @alaskaseafooduk