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Tis the season for… asparagus!


Rejoice! Asparagus season is upon us again. It’s that time of year when those succulent green spears poke up through the soil and get their first glimpse of spring sunshine. Nothing beats feasting on a particular fruit or vegetable when it’s in season and this certainly holds true for this tasty favourite. But green isn’t the only variety that we can get in the shops. Here’s a little explanation of what you might find…

White

As this type of asparagus grows, soil is scattered over the tips to ensure it doesn’t get any sunlight. This stops photosynthesis from occurring which means the crops don’t turn that familiar green colour but instead remain white. Often found in UK supermarkets in jars, this type has a sweet taste that goes nicely in summer salads.

Wild

Wild asparagus has a much finer and more delicate stem than the garden variety that we are used to. The flavour is also more subtle so don’t mess with it. A bit of butter, salt and pepper is all you need!

Purple

Slightly sweeter than the garden variety and with a thicker stem, purple asparagus can be eaten raw and therefore makes a great and really pretty addition to salads. So ditch the your boring lettuce leaves and use these instead

Green Garden Variety

This is the asparagus we know and love with its characteristic, tender green spears. There are so many ways to serve this robust vegetable and when there’s a glut around it would be foolish not to indulge in at a least a few. Why not try them roasted with lemon and coriander seeds or chargrilled to achieve to some smoky notes?

Top Tip: If you put the spears in a small jug of water and place in your fridge this should keep them fresh for a few days.

 

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In Peak Condition


We revel in challenges here at Gnosh. So much so that in a couple of weeks one of the team will be attempting the Three Peaks Challenge- climbing the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in just 24hours. Simple, right? Only if you train hard and nail your nutrition!

Eating more regularly has played a huge role in keeping up energy for training. Productive gym sessions are fuelled by the 4 o’clock protein snacks that give a great energy hit. Crunchy peanut butter on Food Doctor multi-seed pittas has been a favourite! It is just as important to eat a nutritious meal after exercise too. Turmeric and ginger are known for their anti-inflammatory properties so make use of them to aid muscle recovery. Fresh ginger tea is also a perfect way to keep you hydrated (if you can handle the heat!). Overall, the training diet for this challenge is a lot leaner and cleaner but don’t panic, a little temptation has made its way in to keep things reasonable. After all, chocolate is there to be eaten.

All funds raised in completing the challenge supports Camp Project Wales, a charity that provides kids from the Halton Borough in Liverpool with an action and adventure holiday to Wales. Here, they can build up their self-esteem and confidence through activities such as horse-riding, swimming, canoeing and much more.

So ditch the excuses. Find a great cause, enter a new challenge and train hard!

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Latin Fever


We’re nuts for anything Brazil related here at G’NOSH HQ. We’re dressed in green, yellow or blue, we’re eating Latin foods and we’re suddenly really interested in football. This week were focusing on our favourite Brazilian foods – and ways to use them. Is that Samba we can hear?

Acai berries

If you’ve ever been to Brazil, you’ll know that this tiny fruit packs a powerful punch. The acai berry grows in the Amazon Rainforest on the Acai Palm tree. It’s hard to find fresh ones here in the UK, but the powdered form is easily available, and is great in a smoothie, juice or sprinkled on yoghurt and granola. The berries themselves have a chocolatey, red wine flavour and are jam packed with antioxidants, helping with any caipirinha induced hangover. They also contain fibre, for a healthy digestive system, and absolutely bucket loads of vitamin C and A, for immunity and glowing skin.

Brazil nuts

Yes, we are nut junkies but at the moment these are topping the list. Native Amazonians cherished Brazil nuts, as they provide fats, proteins and essential nutrients in a handy little hit. They also contain large amounts of selenium, helpful for preventing heart disease, liver protection and cancer. We love them in pestos, in place of pine nuts, or dipped in dark chocolate for a sweet snack.

Coconuts

Brazil is the worlds 4th largest producer of coconuts, and ‘agua de coco’ is the Brazilians favourite drink. Dubbed ‘Mother Natures sports drink’, due to the high levels of potassium and electrolytes it contains, it’s got plenty going for it, but make sure you buy a raw, unpasteurised kind such as Unoco, unless of course, you can get your hands on a fresh young green one. We are also whipping up Beijinhos de Coco – coconut kisses – at any given moment. A combination of condensed milk, butter and coconut, we defy you to not devour the whole plate. Find a recipe here.

Coffee

Brazil is responsible for over 40% of the world coffee production, making it the true national drink. We’re bordering on coffee obsessives too and will be brewing Brazils finest for the duration of the World Cup. As well as our morning cup of joe, we are adding coffee to ice creams and desserts, and making endless iced lattes. The most unusual coffee recipe we’ve come across is Jamie Oliver’s cheddar with honey and coffee. Simply drizzle mature cheddar with good quality runny honey and sprinkle with freshly ground coffee beans. Tastes pretty extraordinary and is definitely a conversation starter – although the jury’s out here at G’NOSH – we’re divided!

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Well spiced


Spices are an integral part of daily cooking – and many of us don’t even realise it. Pepper is a spice and we put it on everything, and vanilla and chillies are also found in many everyday foods.  There are hundreds of variants of spices, too many to list, but we’ve got some of our favourites below. Spices have a ton of antioxidant properties, and add heaps of flavour without adding calories or salt, so we are big fans of sneaking them in wherever possible, even in our G’NOSH dips.

Turmeric

Turmeric is actually a root which looks a bit like ginger. Its bright orange colour is what gives curry that trademark hue, and if you’re not careful, it will stain your hands and clothes too! It is packed with anti inflammatory qualities, and one of our favourite turmeric based dishes is a sweet potato soup. Simply add a tablespoon or two into the sweating onions and garlic at the start of cooking, and enjoy some of this spice’s health – giving benefits.

Cinnamon

Another G’NOSH favourite, this does wonders for your sweet cravings. We add it to our Black Bean dip for an extra kick of sweetness. Usually found sprinkled over pretzels and sweet pastries, it’s also really good simmered into a ragu before making shepherds pie. We also like cinnamon tea; just steep a few sticks in hot water and drink in the evening for a relaxing, blood-sugar balancing tea.

Garam Masala

This is actually a blend of spices, and there are regional variations across India. The basic mix is turmeric, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and cardamom. It’s used in several curry recipes but goes incredibly well with dark chocolate – try a spoonful in your next brownie recipe. Trust us, it’s amazing! If that’s a step too far, mix it with some mild oil and combine with cauliflower before roasting for 40 minutes.

Cumin

Best bought as seeds, then toasted and ground, cumin adds astringency to many dishes and is an essential component of garam masala. Unlike some other spices, cumin is synonymous with lots of cuisines; Mexican black beans aren’t the same without cumin, and neither are Indian curries, and good old BBQ sauce isn’t as good without a good whack of it. We use it in both our Red Pepper and Black Bean dips, and also love it sprinkled on hummus alongside some punchy olive oil. Try adding to lamb mince before shaping into kebabs, and serve with a garlicky, yoghurt sauce.

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Whose the Daddy?


It’s crept around pretty fast, but we’re celebrating our dads this Sunday. Treat yours to something special from the kitchen this weekend – you can’t go wrong with our pinchos brunch or a beetroot burger.

Fry up some steamed Jersey Royals, or any small salad potato, in hot oil along with a chilli sauce of your choice. We like Gran Luchito but feel free to use whatever you have in the cupboard. Cook your pinchos as per the packs instructions, remove from the stick and stir through the potatoes. Fry an egg and place it on top. Finish with the marinade from the pinchos and a sprinkling of chilli. Bring to him in bed and this’ll get you serious brownie points.

Our Beetroot and Mint dip is fab in a burger. Try with sweet potato chips (our favourite) and a serving of dip on the side. We also love it with any roast lamb; the mint complements it perfectly and lamb is in its prime right now. Make sure you buy British!

We don’t know about you, but our dads go crazy for a good old fashioned sandwich. We love a crusty ciabatta filled with unearthed charcuterie, crisp leaves and plenty of our red pepper dip, or try upgrading his weekly doner kebab; fill a large pitta with babaghanoush, shredded lamb and lots of yoghurt sauce. Beats the chippy any day!

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A Hankering for Herbs


Herbs are an essential in the G’NOSH kitchen, adding colour, flavour (and antioxidants) to anything. Herbs have culinary, medicinal and even spiritual qualities, with many herbs said to ward off evil, bring good luck and even bring love into your life. We’ve picked our top 4 and a few creative ways to use them. As a general rule of thumb, most ‘soft’ herbs (basil, mint, tarragon or parsley) are better chopped at the last minute and added at the end of cooking, as a garnish. Harder herbs, such as rosemary and sage, can survive longer and are better added at the beginning of cooking to gain the most from their potent flavours.

Mint

Our number one. Just as happy on a dessert as with a leg of lamb, or even masquerading as a tea, we could plan whole meals around mint. We use it in our beetroot dip to add freshness and flavour, and we throw it into our juices daily – it’s like a healthy morning mojito! We love sliced ripe buffalo tomatoes with finely chopped mint instead of basil, pepped up with lemon zest and plenty of seasoning.

Basil

Coming from the Greek word basileus, meaning King, basil is a ruler amongst herbs, with pesto being the most common way to use it. Sadly, jarred versions and cheap pesto ‘flavoured’ things have tarnished its reputation. We always have a basil plant in the kitchen, and one of our favourite ways to use it is with strawberries; simply mix some fresh torn basil with sliced strawberries and a drizzle of top quality honey and good quality balsamic vinegar. A very chic dessert!

Rosemary

Always associated with stews and roasts, rosemary is also great infused into olive oils so you can enjoy its flavour with a salad, or drizzled on a soup. Wash and dry the rosemary well. Gently heat up your best quality extra virgin olive oil, and, once warmed, pour into a bottle with the rosemary. Leave to infuse for a few days. Rosemary also makes fabulous kebab skewers in place of wooden sticks, making the most of the aromatic flavour.

Coriander

Love it or hate it, this seems to divide the masses like no other. You might have your genes to blame if coriander induces this marmite reaction in you – apparently it’s all down to whether or not you possess a certain receptor. Science aside, we love this earthy, pungent herb chopped finely on anything Asian, the citrus undertones complimenting fish perfectly. Try it with bream or mullet alongside some chopped green chilli and lemon juice.  The dried seeds add a certain depth to a chilli con carne and the stalks are great in a green curry paste.

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Power Couples


As we mentioned before, we love teaming up with other like minded brands. By popular demand we’re back on offer on Ocado, teaming up with Scratch Meals and everyone’s favourite indulgence, Gu puds. In honour of this, we’ve got a few ideas on how to best enjoy G’NOSH with a few other of our favourite brands.

Obviously, dipping crisp breads in G’NOSH is a great way to enjoy it; one of our top brands is Crosta Mollica for authentic Italian grissini. The fennel tarralini are amazing and we defy you not to eat a bag in one go. Another favourite is Conscious Foods, home of natural power snacks. We love their finger millet dippers and rosemary crackers (look out for a G’NOSH and Conscious giveaway next week!). They’re gluten and dairy free too so suitable for any intolerant G’NOSHERS.

We are total chilli nuts here at G’NOSH so Gran Luchito always has a place on our table. This potent blend of Oaxacan chipotle chilli is smoky, deep and absolutely delicious mixed in with our Red Pepper for an extra kick. It’s pretty sublime mixed with cream cheese and fresh coriander too.

If meat is on the menu, sausages are a favourite, and now the suns on its way back in to our lives, we’re already lighting up the barby. Must be our antipodean roots. Muddy Boots burgers are the best in the business, and go perfectly with G’NOSH dips. For the real carnivores, a platter of charcuterie and dips always gets our hearts racing, and unearthed ® is our go-to brand for all things continental. The special reserve speck and bresaola is currently top of our shopping list; divine with some parmesan shavings and a healthy dollop of our award winning Babaghanoush.

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Holy crepe!


So, Lent begins on Wednesday. It seems its time to give something up all over again. Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was an important part of the Christian calendar, a time to reflect on what needs to be changed. Over the years, it’s become a day of indulgence before the fasting that is normally associated with Lent. We don’t need much of an excuse to indulge here at G’NOSH, but here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy a pancake tomorrow – whether or not you are abstaining from chocolate until Easter.

For a twist on a classic American pancake breakfast, serve with crispy pancetta, a drizzle of honey and a few fresh peaches. The salty bacon goes perfectly with the honey and fruit. If you’d like something on the lighter side, try using different flours, quinoa or buckwheat both make brilliant crepes and finish with fresh blueberries, a little yoghurt and flaked almonds.

Our Red Pepper dip is an amazing addition to a savoury crepe. Try it with a good handful of spinach or chard and some shredded chicken (we’re currently obsessed with Rannochs smoked). Serve with a crisp green salad. Try a Mexican twist on your pancakes this year by filling with our black bean, some pulled pork, mashed avocado and fresh coriander.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese crepes make delicious nibbles or a light lunch. Just spread your crepe with some cream cheese, fill with smoked salmon slices, roll and thinly slice.

For a fabulous dessert, try folding some strong espresso through some mascarpone, along with a little icing sugar, vanilla extract and some dark chocolate chips. Roll up and slice, finishing with some cocoa powder. Now that’s what we call an indulgence.

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Meat Free Mondays


We’ve been fans of the McCartney’s ‘Meat Free Monday’ movement for a while now. Whilst we do love a good steak here at G’NOSH, we’re becoming increasingly aware of its impact on the environment and conscious that when we do indulge, it’s in best quality, grass fed meat. Giving up meat for one day a week isn’t too much to ask, and with G’NOSH making it easy to rustle up a vegetarian meal in a heartbeat, it’s easier than ever to go meat free.

Our revved up Red Pepper dip is a wonderful stuffing for giant Portobello mushrooms. Simply mix a few spoonfuls with a handful of cooked quinoa and a little spinach. Spoon the mix into the mushrooms and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place under the grill. You can really ring the changes with these; use breadcrumbs or cous cous instead of quinoa, and add any other vegetables you have. We like adding feta for a salty tang.

The Caramelised Onion and Black Bean dip is a perfect addition to vegetarian burgers. It’s our vegan product, so perfect for those of you who want to avoid anything animal derived. Try making burgers with grated courgette, cooked sweet potato and a pinch of paprika, cumin and chilli. Combine with breadcrumbs, our Black Bean dip and season well. Shape into patties and fry lightly until cooked.

Our much loved Beetroot dip goes great in risotto, but why not try making a little beetroot potato cakes? They’re a great addition to your eggs in the morning, or just as they are with some extra dip on the side. Combine shredded potato and carrot with beetroot dip, season well with salt and pepper and add 1 spoonful of flour and an egg. Shape into patties and fry on each side, before finishing in a moderate oven.

Last but not least our Babaghanoush. We don’t need much persuading to eat this just as it is, but we also like making little ‘pizza’s’ with it. You can buy flatbreads from most supermarkets now. We simply heat these and top with babaghanoush, cooked vegetables and a few black olives. Sprinkle with za’atar and lemon zest and you’ve got yourself an Italian inspired Middle Eastern feast!

Don’t forget to share your meat free feasts with us at share@gnosh.co.uk.

Read more about Meat Free Mondays here.

Twitter: @MeatFreeMonday

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