Good Wholesome Fun with Silvana Franco!
In early December I attended a fantastic cookery workshop hosted by celebrity chef Silvana Franco and well-known dietician Dr Sarah Schenker.
Most of us now know that we should be aiming to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day but how many of us know that we should also be aiming to eat at least three servings of wholegrain a day to keep us healthy too? Not many it would seem as 95% of adults fail to reach three servings a day, most of us don’t even eat that in a week and almost a third of us don’t eat any at all!
This is, frankly, silly! Wholegrains are delicious, one portion really isn’t very big and it doesn’t take much to pop them in to your every day diet. You’ve had one of your three a day if you have a piece of wholemeal toast for breakfast and, if you have preceded that with a bowl of wholegrain cereal or warming porridge, you’re already nearly done!
I’m going to tempt you in with some delicious food ideas and then zap you with the health benefits facts!
There, that doesn’t look so hard does it? This is a traditional Lebanese salad which couldn’t be easier to prepare and which makes a delicious, healthy lunch. Hiding at the back of my photograph is a toasted wholemeal pitta ready to be torn into pieces to finish off my dish. Sumac is the spice usually used here and it adds a delicious fragrant lemony zing, if you can’t get hold of sumac cumin makes a good alternative.
2 wholemeal pitta breads
4 tbsps rapeseed oil (one of the healthiest oils you can buy due to its balance of fatty acids and it is grown everywhere in the UK!)
3 ripe but firm tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 small red onion
2 little gem lettuce
handful of fresh mint leaves
1 small garlic clove
1 – 2 tsp ground sumac (or cumin)
- Split open the pitta and brush the insides with a little rapeseed oil. Grill until crisp and lightly browned
- Dice the tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper
- Slice the red onion and roughly tear the lettuce and mint
- Transfer all the salad ingredients to a serving platter or bowl
- Crush the garlic clove, mix with the sumac and enough rapeseed oil and lemon juice to make a lovely balanced dressing (taste it to check!)
- Crumble the pitta and feta over the salad and drizzle with the garlic and sumac dressing.
Yes, popcorn is good for you! Popcorn is a wholegrain and when home popped and spiced up with your own favourite blends it makes a fantastic, healthy snack! As you can see from the photo we all got to flavour our own and then to share it around. Delicious!
Spiced Popcorn to serve 4
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
100g popping corn
spices for flavouring
- Pour the oil into a large saucepan and heat for a minute or two. Add the corn, cover with a tight-fitting lid and listen for the sound of popping (I have a glass lid for this which means my children can watch the magic happening as the corn pops!)
- Shake the pan from time to time to stop the corn sticking and remove from the heat once the popping subsides
- Add your choice of spices and a little salt, toss together and serve warm
I chose chilli, brown sugar, a little salt and a drizzle of maple syrup for my blend and was very reluctant to share it with anyone else! Look out for ready blended spices like Garam Masala or Thai 5 spice or raid the store cupboard and make your own.
You could try:
- chopped chives and finely grated Gruyere
- smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and salt
- oregano and finely grated parmesan
- cinnamon and caster sugar
The Health Benefits
Wholegrains contain fibre which can help maintain a healthy digestive system
A growing body of evidence suggests that diets rich in wholegrain foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes
Emerging evidence suggests that wholegrain intake may contribute to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. They release energy slowly, helping you to feel fuller for longer.
Different wholegrains have additional benefits. Oats and hulled barley, for example, contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that actively reduces cholesterol which may lower the risk of heart disease
For more on the health benefits of wholegrains, for information to help you identify what a wholegrain is when you are shopping and for more recipe ideas visit -
Making it Simple
Just switching to wholemeal flour when you are baking (you can do half and half white flour and wholemeal) can make an instant difference to your wholegrain intake
Many thanks to HGCA for organising the day and for inviting FabFood along. It was one of the nicest blogger events I have attended with nothing being sold to us except a desire to encourage people to eat more healthily! I enjoyed it so much that FabFood is going to have a regular ‘Cooking with Wholegrains’ spot every other Wednesday!
Do you have a favourite wholegrain recipe or a top tip for popping wholegrains into our daily diet?