A fresh start

Good editor Carolyn Enting tries My Food Bag’s Fresh Start over lockdown!

When offered the opportunity to trial Fresh Start for six weeks I jumped at it. Who wouldn’t?

Four delicious but healthy meals a week that I didn’t have to think about and would keep the calories count down too.

Now that I’ve reached the end of those six weeks I have to say I’m impressed. Over that time only one meal was repeated and it was a winner, so I was actually super happy about that.

It seemed a great chance to try and shed some kilos ahead of Christmas, and during a time when it is safe to say I’ve been a little food obsessed.

Sadly, I didn’t lose any weight but I also didn’t put any weight on. It must also be noted that I have not lost any weight doing intermittent fasting either (my partner lost 6 kilos) and I didn’t lose any weight doing Weight Watchers.

So my issue is probably stress and/or hormones so I’ve now started experimenting with diaphragmatic breathing – but I digress!

What I didn’t expect though was how many fantastic cooking hacks that I’d learn from Fresh Start. Hacks that add simple wow factor to meals that I’ll now be using for life.

If you’re a foodie you may roll your eyes and think, ‘I can’t believe you don’t know this already’ and I admit that most of my life I’ve been a food appreciator rather that the cook.

Carolyn Enting

So here are a few great Fresh Start hacks that I’ve learned and love.

Cucumber Yoghurt – All you need is 1 Lebanese cucumber and ¼ cup of yoghurt. Grate the cucumber, squeeze out excess liquid and place in a bowl with the yoghurt. Mix well and serve as a delicious condiment with a variety of meals. It goes well with Fresh Start’s 15-Minute Greek Style Haloumi.

Baked Beans – I’m not talking about sauced beans. These beans are white and crispy and just so morish on their own or sprinkled in a salad. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Drain and rinse ½ a can of cannellini beans and toss in a lined oven tray with oil. Season with salt and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and crispy. That’s it! You can do the same with canned chickpeas.

Feta Whip – You’ll need 25grams of feta cheese and 1 tablespoon of milk. Whisk together until smooth and serve over Moroccan Grilled Chicken or salad or anything!

Veggie Rice – Now here’s a great idea! Add grated courgette to cooked, drained rice and toss together and season with salt. Delicious!

Cauliflower Rice – For cutting down the carbs and getting up your vegetable count Cauliflower Rice is king. It’s so easy. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, grate the cauliflower and put in a lined oven tray and cook for 20 minutes.

Kumara Chips – Who knew they were so easy to make? You probably do but it was news to me. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut 200grams of kumara into chips and toss in a lined oven tray with salt and pepper and bake for about 25 minutes or until tender and golden. So good!

Perfect Patties – Yes, you get to eat naked burgers with Fresh Start. The ones where lettuce leaves are the buns. I love this simple pattie recipe. Half a carrot (grated), 250g lean beef mince, 1 tablespoon wholemeal breadcrumbs, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon oil. Combine using damp hands and shape into four 1cm thick patties.

Lamb – This hack will ensure your lamb is cooked to perfection. Fresh Start suggests either cooking your lamb on the barbecue or this way, which I thought I’d try. And it worked so well I even Instagramed it!

Pat 300grams of lamb dry, rub with oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large fry-pan on medium-high heat and cook lamb, fat side down for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for a further 2 minutes, then transfer to a lined oven tray and bake for 10-14 minutes for medium, or cooked to your liking. Rest, slice and serve.

Fresh Start’s menu is definitely brilliant for adding extra vegetables to your diet and the meals are easy to prepare as well as super tasty.

I actually couldn’t believe that it was My Food Bag’s healthiest option because I was getting to eat so much haloumi cheese as well as add delicious yoghurt sauces to meals.

My absolute favourite dishes were Tandoori Yoghurt Chicken; Pan Fried Fish Niçoise Salad; and Mediterranean Haloumi Salad with Chickpeas and Romesco.

And each week you get one meal that has already been prepared so all you need to do is just heat and eat, which is a fabulous time saver.

I’ll definitely be adding Fresh Start to my future shopping list.

Try Fresh Start’s Basil, Pea & Feta Fritters with Kraut Salad, Hummus & Dukkah recipe here.

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