People are stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking. According to research carried out by HelloFresh, 70 per cent of Brits eating the same six meals on repeat each week (I have to admit, mine would be tuna pasta, sweet potato and tuna, chicken salad, salmon or chicken and veg, and if I am feeling bold, spag bol).
HelloFresh are a multinational company that deliver boxes of fresh, good quality food to people’s houses with recipe cards inside. It was founded by Dominik Richter, Thomas Griesel and Jessica Nilsson in 2011, and rocketed in popularity delivering 30.7 million meals in the 3-month period from 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2017 making them number one among Europe’s 1,000 fastest growing companies (according to a study conducted by the Financial Times).
Brit’s have no healthy meal ideas
Can you believe, that despite all the blogs, magazines, cookbooks and TV programmes on cooking we have at our disposal, 74 per cent of people say they are looking for more recipe inspiration, according to HelloFresh research. I have to admit, trawling through mounds of resources in the hope of finding something to tickle my fancy can be a tiring chore. It’s a little overwhelming, right?
It’s exactly what you need for those evenings you are slumped on the sofa with a big appetite but a lack of creative juices flowing
That’s exactly why HelloFresh have launched the new Flavour Generator, an online tool that picks you a recipe in seconds based on your favourite cuisine. For those evenings you are slumped on the sofa with a big appetite but a lack of creative juices flowing, it could be revolutionary.
The future of flavoursome food
Hop online the HelloFresh blog and the generator will ask you two simple questions: What is your favourite cuisine and what flavour do you fancy?
First time around, I selected Mexican cuisine and a tangy flavour. The genenerator recognises the spices and herbs that work well together, spurring up some healthy meal ideas. I was presented with two – a Mexican Black Bean and Buckwheat Bake with Crème Fraîche or a Mexican Superfood Cottage Pie. Yes, I’d be happy with that!
With this new tool, it really is so simple to find healthy meal ideas and I haven’t come across a recipe that takes more than 35 minutes. I played on the Flavour Generator Tool for a while before settling for a Middle Eastern food with a herby flavour. The recipe for harissa chicken with pomegranate tabbouleh popped up along with two other choices.
Harissa chicken with pomegranate tabbouleh recipe
1.5 cups bulgur wheat
8 chicken thighs
2 tbsp rose harissa paste
1 red onion
5 tbsp flat leaf parsley
A box of vine tomatoes
300g natural yoghurt
Pomegranate seeds (either from one pomegranate or buy a box in the supermarket).
- Bring 250ml of water to the boil and grate the zest of half your lemon. Pour the bulgur wheat into the boiling water and add the zest and ¼ tsp of salt. Place a lid on the pot and rest off the heat for 25 mins, or until the water has completely soaked into the wheat.
- Chop the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. Mix the chicken with the harissa.
- Peel and finely chop half the onion and roughly chop the parsley. Cut the tomatoes in half and roughly chop into 11/2cm pieces.
- Mix the yoghurt with 1 tbsp of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Heat a frying pan on medium high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Fry off the chicken for around 5 mins or until it is no longer pink in the middle.
- Once ready add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to the bulgur wheat. Mix in the onion, tomato and two-thirds of the parsley.
- Serve the chicken mixed into the bulgur wheat salad and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top with the remaining parsley. Drizzle with the yoghurt and fill your boots!
Things I learnt this week:
Normally I would give just three things I have learnt, but I’m going to share some awesome facts about flavour that I have learnt from HelloFresh, too.
- I would like to eat more mindfully I can take advantage of food and its incredible flavours.
- Cooking new and delicious foods doesn’t need to be difficult I know what pomegranate seeds are and I like them – why have I never experimented with them?
- Harissa paste smells divine and if you like chicken, you need to try it.
- Are you a super taster? 30 per cent of the population have ‘super tastebuds’, which means flavours, particularly bitter, are more intense. These people tend to be women, are not ‘foodies’, use salt more often to balance flavours, drink cocktails, drink coffee with sugar and milk and dislike beer and cabbage. How can you find out if you are one? Take this BBC Science test.
- 70 per cent of what we perceive as flavour is actually smell. This also explains why food is bland when you have a cold.
- Our brain fills gaps. The clever brain makes decisions for you when it comes to the colour of food. We tend to avoid things that are coloured blue or green because they signify mould.
- Sound effects taste. Ever thought fish tastes fresher by the sea? This could simply be because you can hear the seaside sounds. Similarly, listening to high tinkling music while you eat can make something taste very different compared to bass music.
- Atmosphere changes the way you see food. Thought cat cafés were about the cats? Actually, the clever Japanese recognise that if you are surrounded by soft animals, the food will taste better. That’s why breakfast in bed is so memorable and we like to snuggle up in blankets with snacks and Netflix – it all makes sense!
What recipe will you give a go this week? Share with us on Instagram by tagging @HealthistaTV
Vanessa Chalmers is a Food and Lifestyle Writer at Healthista, and enjoys finding new healthy living hacks, especially when it comes to her favourite thing – food. Her column How To Cook Healthy For Beginners is every Friday, for the busy everyday woman who is nothing more than an amateur chef, but loves food and to cook.