We’re giving you a little sneak preview of one of the fabulous recipes you’ll find in her forthcoming book from Hazel Wallace, Food Medic For Life.
In your new book you explore the idea that food is so much more than just ‘fuel.’ Tell us what food is to you.
Food is a source of energy or fuel, but it’s so much more than that. Food is what brings families together, food celebrates culture and diversity, food is a source of comfort and a language that we all speak.
Of course, we need to eat in order to thrive and survive but food, and particularly the act of sharing food, goes well beyond our biological need for nourishment. However, in today’s diet-obsessed culture, we have lost our deep connection with food.
We over-think what we eat, we argue over it, we restrict it, we over-indulge in it, we analyse and dissect it. But in the same breath, we don’t give enough attention to what we eat.
I hope that my book helps people to not only think about what they eat but how they eat, and who they share that with.
Tell us about your life on the go and what inspired this section of your book
To reflect the pattern of our busy lives, this book is split into two sections; fuel up and power down. The first section is designed to suit the hectic, busy days in your life where you need quick and easy recipes that will give you the fuel that you need to power through the working week, without spending hours in the kitchen.
This recipe section was inspired by my own life, I rarely have time to spend hours in the kitchen so I’ve picked up my own time-saving hacks when it comes to eating well when you’re busy and I want to pass on that advice through this book. Recipes for breakfast on-the-go, fork-free lunches, and 30-minute dinners are what you will find in here.
How do you power down and switch off when your work life is so hectic?
I start my day with 10 minutes of meditation to ensure I’m starting my day as chilled as I possibly could be! I also book out 4 non-negotiable days off in my diary per month where I take a step back from work and social media to reconnect with myself. This might be through travel, visiting my family, or simply having a day to pamper myself a home.
In the second half of my book “power down” I share with you some easy ways to incorporate calm into your life with tips on how to be more mindful, how to mediate, and how to improve the quality of your sleep.
Tell us about your staples and let us in on one of your food heroes!
I think most of us can relate to coming home from work after a long day, totally exhausted and absolutely ravenous. No matter how great of a cook you are, if there isn’t food in the house and it’s been a long day, you (and all of us) are way more likely to have a ready meal or order a take out.
No one wants to go to the supermarket after work, during rush hour, buy ingredients, come home and cook. So having food in the house gives youn a HUGE head start. So I’ve picked out 5 of my favourites which I use time and time again, especially when I’m tight on time and lacking inspiration, and show you ten different ways to cook with them.
You can find these ingredients in any supermarket and they fit within anyone’s budget. One of them is the humble chickpea! I can find a use for it at any time of the day, and in sweet or savoury dishes like this Irish stew.
It’s an old wives’ tale in Ireland that pregnant women should drink Guinness because it’s a good source of iron. I had a look into this and, sadly, it doesn’t seem like there is enough iron in a pint of Guinness to make much of a contribution to dietary requirements. Added to that, it’s not a good idea to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Dubious health benefits aside, Guinness does taste great in stews, leaving the meat lovely and tender.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 500g beef shoulder or stewing beef, cut into chunks
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 300g potatoes, peeled and chopped into
- 3cm chunks
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 300ml beef stock
- 500ml Guinness
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and black pepper
- Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large flameproof casserole dish over a high heat. Once hot, add the beef and fry for 3–5 minutes, until browned. Season and set aside on a plate.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the empty dish, then add the onions, carrots, potatoes and celery and fry for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for 2 more minutes, until aromatic.
- Put the cornflour into a mug or bowl, add a little of the stock and stir until dissolved. Pour into the casserole dish with the remaining stock, the Guinness, bay leaves, reserved beef and salt to taste (take care with the seasoning if your stock already contains salt).
- Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 45–50 minutes, until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
- Serve with crusty bread.
Dr. Hazel Wallace is the girl behind The Food Medic. Hazel is a practicing doctor with a special interest in nutrition, and a qualified personal trainer.