As 2014 approaches, many of you will decide that a new year will mean a new you! The most popular New Year’s resolutions include cutting down on chocolate and alcohol, as well as exercising more and improving your diet. However, according to research, 40% of us give up within two weeks! Parragon are here to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions… even when that chocolate bar becomes a bit too tempting!
When it comes to choosing to exercise more in the New Year, most people push themselves too much, and this often leads to them giving up. Instead of trying to run a marathon, the best way to start off is by exercising frequently for a short amount of time everyday. 6-minute routines can be easily incorporated into even the busiest of days, especially first thing in the morning.
Our 6 Minute Morning range is perfect for toning all areas, from arms, to core training, thighs and hips and more. The range is available in the UK now.
Follow us on our social media channels for 6-minute morning workout ideas this week.
Cutting down alcohol…
Last year 19% of those who made a New Year’s resolution said they would cut down their alcohol intake. There’s no need to give up delicious cocktails just because you’ve given up alcohol! We have some refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail recipes to help you kick back and relax on the weekends.
175 ml/6 fl oz orange juice
175 ml/6 fl oz sparkling white grape juice
orange slices, to decorate
Chill two champagne flutes.
Divide the orange juice between the flutes.
Top up with the sparkling grape juice. Decorate with the orange slice.
4–6 cracked ice cubes
3 measures tomato juice
1 measure lemon juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
pinch celery salt
lemon wedge and celery stick, to decorate
Put the cracked ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Pour over the tomato juice.
Add the lemon juice.
Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Shake vigorously until well frosted.
Season with the celery salt and pepper, strain into a chilled glass and decorate with the lemon wedge and celery stick.
Raspberry and Watermelon Crush
¼ small watermelon, peeled, coarsely chopped, and most of the black seeds removed
½ lime, zest and most of the pith removed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 cup raspberries
small handful of crushed ice (optional)
Put the watermelon and lime in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Add the raspberries and crushed ice, if using, and blend again. Pour into a glass and serve immediately.
Cutting down on chocolate…
You may be cutting down on chocolate, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut it out completely. Besides, everything is good in moderation, yes? Our Chocolate Soufflés mean that you can indulge your chocolate craving, at only 228 calories per soufflé! Perfect for those girly nights in.
Cook: 25 min
Prep: 15 min
2 sprays of vegetable oil spray
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
175ml/¾ cup skim milk
25g/¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 egg whites
110g/½ cup sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray six 175ml/ ¾ - cup ramekins (individual ceramic dishes) with vegetable oil spray. Put the butter, chocolate, and 60ml/1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the cocoa powder, flour, vanilla extract, and salt and beat until well mixed. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat for about another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Gently fold a large dollop of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine using a rubber spatula. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining egg mixture until well combined.
- Carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins and bake in the preheated oven for about 22–25 minutes, or until the soufflés are puffy and dry on the top. Serve immediately.
Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be a chore. Our Love Food 100 Best series is full of healthy, easy recipes, from soups, to salads, stir-fries and more! Our 100 Best Health Foods even includes nutritional information for each ingredient, as well as delicious and revitalizing recipes for you to try.
We hope that our tips will help you keep your New Years resolutions this year! Check out our Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr over the next couple of weeks for more nutritional recipes, exercises, competitions and more!
We'd like to say a huge thank you to award-winning stationery designer, Bonnie Marcus for taking the time to give us an insight into where her inspiration comes from, the expansion of her company and how she develops new ideas!
Since 2002 your designs have filled the stationery world with elegance and glamour. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes right from the runway! I have a background in fashion and I worked in New York City for years for Diane von Fürstenberg, Liz Claiborne and Bloomingdales, so everything that I do really has a sense of fashion and style to it. I try to incorporate that background into all of the designs that we do here at the company.
Your collection now includes a whole lifestyle range, from flip-flops, to phone cases, notepads and more. What was the first product you sold?
The first products that I sold were fashion-forward wedding related invitations; engagement party invitations, bridal shower invitations, really everything related to the wedding! I was a wedding planner in New York City at the time and I worked with brides who were looking for invitations that were fashion-focused and stylish, things that weren’t out there at the time. So I walked the gift shows in the city, I walked the stationery shows and I really didn’t see anything that my clients were interested in. So, I started designing my own invitations. They were soon picked up as 'Best Bets' in New York Magazine, and the Oprah Magazine. These fashion-forward invitations were my first line and are still our best-sellers today.
You’ve been recognized as a pioneer for women in business and won the prestigious American Express ‘Make Mine a $Million Business’ contest for women entrepreneurs. How do you feel about being a role model for women in business?
I think its an amazing honor to be recognized as a role model for women in business. As a mom of three little ones myself, I know how difficult it is to do it all! Today was my three kids' first day back at school, so not only did I have to think about meeting with you today, but I also had to make sure that they all got up and caught the bus on time! I think it’s important for other women in business to know that it’s not easy to be able to do it all, which is why I love our 'Mom’s Everyday Essential Planner' that we have just published with Parragon. It really is an amazing resource for moms and moms to be.
Your company has achieved many things since launch, from celebrity endorsements to winning awards. What is your most memorable moment to date?
I think my most memorable moment to date was the NY Stationery Show this year. It was our 10 year anniversary there and it was something really fun and exciting for the company as a whole. We’ve been attending this show since I was pregnant with my first child, so it was very special and meaningful to be there.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with many famous people. What is the design that you most enjoyed creating for a celebrity?
We’ve worked with a number of celebrities, over the years. I think my most meaningful celebrity project was our ‘Cards for a Cause’ project, that we did last year for the Christmas holiday. We worked with Cindy Crawford, Marcia Cross, Angie Harman and Mollie Simms, and they all collaborated with us on holiday card designs. It was really meaningful to hear what charities were important to them and to know that we were designing these cards that would benefit people in need.
Eleven years and three boys later! How do you manage to raise your family, expand your company and keep developing fresh new collections?
I get inspiration from everything that surrounds me by being a mom, for example wanting to give the most fabulous gifts to the kids' teachers. I still go to the city a couple of times every week to make sure we are keeping an eye on the current fashion! I think that being a mom has opened my eyes to a whole different category that I never knew before. It’s fun coming up with new solutions to help moms.
How do you think Parragon’s range will complement your existing product portfolio?
For years we’ve been concentrating on paper products, invitations, thank you notes and notepads, but everyone has been asking us for books! So all of the retailers and all of the store buyers have been coming to me and saying that they thought that our illustrations would be beautiful in books for moms and moms to be. So I was thrilled to develop a relationship with Parragon and be able to finally fill this void in the market.
What what you say is the most exciting thing about partnering with Parragon?
We have a number of new books coming out through Parragon that I’m so excited about. We have two great cookbooks, one is called 'Cupcakes and Cocktails', which I’m really excited about. Our designs are perfect for these books because they’re all party girls who are chic and stylish. So we’ve taken what we have been known for in the last 10 years and we were able to expand with our partnership with Parragon.
Which product are you most excited about Parragon launching and why?
I’m really most excited about the 'Mom’s Everyday Essential Planner' we’re doing with Parragon. I realize that there is nothing in the market that could help me get organized. As a working mom it's hard to be able to juggle all of those balls and the organizer that we’ve created with Parragon is really amazing. It’s choc-full of all of the information that, as a mom, you need to have right at your finger tips. From school and doctor contact information, to a summer vacation planner. I'm so excited to be able to use this planner myself, as well as give it as gifts for friends in the holidays this year.
Celebrate the holidays with Parragon’s vibrant and varied range of books and gift sets. Whether you’re looking for a cupcake kit for a budding baker, a fun desk accessory for a colleague, or even a present for the pet in your life, Parragon’s range of holiday gifts are sure to deliver a smile!
Cookbooks for Beginners and Baking Delights
Our range of Love Food cookbooks make great gifts for budding chefs. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a novice, for someone who knows their way around a kitchen, or for a baking fanatic, we have a wonderful selection to inspire all!
Maybe you know someone who loves nothing more than to fire up the barbeque on a hot day? The Burger box set comes with a fun and quirky comic book style recipe book and a burger press! This set is bursting with flavour and is guaranteed to ignite passion in an already enthusiastic burger lover! Our Love Food cookbook Cook with Confidence is a perfect gift for those who find cooking a bit daunting! This helpful set comes complete with an informative DVD and a beautiful step-by-step cookbook. We also have an amazing collection of cookbooks for the budding baker. With baking being as popular as ever, you can't go wrong with our Love Food cookbook, Make, Bake, Cupcake! Containing chapters such as 'Cocktails and Mocktails', and 'Feisty Flavours', this innovative, fun cookbook will make sure that baking will never be dull!
From Snuggle Bedtime Fun For Babies and Toddlers, To Fabulous 'Create and Play' Sets for Boys and Girls
We have a huge array of gifts perfect for all ages. For babies and toddlers, our Little Learners collection is full of imaginative designs, stimulating textures and softly appealing pictures to grow your child’s curiosity and imagination. For little boys and girls, encourage their creativity with our range of fun 'create and play' box sets and inspire a love of reading with our heart-warming picture book and soft toy gift sets!
Super Stocking Gifts, and Even Presents for Furry Family Members!
Stocking gifts are the perfect way to add a little extra cheer to someone's Christmas day, and here at Parragon we have a wonderul selection to choose from! Do you know someone who is looking for the perfect man? They need look no further! With our My Right and My Hero mini tin sets, they can create the man of their dreams! Our Crazy Combat Catapult set is a perfect present to get the whole family involved, there's lots of fun to be had! Oh and let's not forget that furry companion in your family! Ensure that they're treated during the festive season with our Santa Paws box set, complete with a recipe book full of delicious treat and even a Santa hat for your doggy friend!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Parragon Books!
A huge thank you to Heather Bauer (renowned nutrition expert, author, entrepreneur and founder of Bestowed) for kindly providing us with this fascinating insight into the many benefits of avocado!
Avocados are in and fear of “fat content” is out.
Guacamole isn’t just for Mexican menus any more, the green goodness has popped up everywhere from cantinas to cafeterias. Even the biggest burger chains are offering sliced avocados as topping options. But while picking which is the healthier choice between buttery avocados and bacon, is it the healthiest option?
Well, results are in and while the fat content of avocados might be on the high side, they muster up some pretty redeeming qualities with their health benefits.
One serving of avocado contains about 4.5 grams of fat and 50 calories. Not terribly scary except… a serving is only about two or three slices of avocado. An entire avocado could run you about 350 calories. However, as long as you’re sticking with a proper portion you’re getting your daily serving of fat from a great source.
Avocados are one of the few fruits that contain “good” fats – fats that offer benefits to your health. Out of the 4.5 grams of fat that avocados contain, only 0.5 is saturated fat, (fat that can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and the heart problems that come along with that). The rest of the fat content is monounsaturated, fat that actually prevents cholesterol levels from climbing and protects against heart disease.
On top of that, fats like this actually lead you to feel fuller faster, so a couple of slices of these bad boys will help lead to a super satisfying meal.
Brought to You By the Vitamins K, E and…
One thing is for sure, avocados are jam packed with vitamins -- like vitamin K which is actually great for promoting bone strength – great if your diet is dairy-free and you’re looking for calcium-like benefits from other sources. Then you’ve got vitamin C which promotes collagen synthesis – sounds super fancy but C is also great for helping your body absorb Vitamin K.
Besides Vitamins, avocados also are also full of folates – and soon-to-be-mommies, this one’s for you. Folate helps promote healthy cell and tissue growth. A fabulous folate level will help prevent against future issues neural tube defects in the fetus. They’re also packed with potassium which helps promote heart health all around.
It’s easy to heart something that hearts you right back!
Power in the Portion
Clearly, avocados are a great addition to any daily diet so getting a handle on serving size is key. A few ways to work them in to your day is to throw a few slices on a salad or fold them in to a 100 calorie wrap with sliced turkey. But a big, green free-for-all is still pretty easy to come by.
Guacamole might seem like the easiest access to the good stuff, but it’s highly doubtful that the portions you’ll encounter are made with anything less than one whole avocado – and that’s even pushing it. However, avocados do turn quickly once you slice and dice them so it might be easier to just mix up a batch rather than slice a few pieces for one salad. In that case, instead of dipping chip after chip, spread your serving on a fiber cracker (a serving size of mashed avocado is about two tablespoons) and you’ve got a portion controlled snack. Or, check out pre-portioned packets like Wholly Guacamole which are 100 calories of goodness, plus no chopping, mashing, mixing or wasting.
Now that’s the good stuff.
HEATHER BAUER is a nationally renowned nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur. Her fresh and inspiring approach to diet has landed her prime time spots on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live and The Tyra Banks Show. She has also been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine.She is the author of two top selling books; The Wall Street Diet (Hyperion 2008) and Bread is the Devil (St. Martin's Press 2012) and has regular columns on The Huffington Post and US News & World Report where she covers the latest trends in diet, health and nutrition. In 2012, she founded Bestowed -- a subscription service that offers consumers a personalized way to discover, sample, shop and learn about the best nutrition and lifestyle products on the market. Heather is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN). She graduated from The University of Wisconsin and is a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA).
To find out more about Bestowed, check them out online:
Why not add some avocado into your diet by trying these delicious recipes from some of our Love Food Cookbooks?
Why not try this week's 'Meat Free Monday Recipe' Spicy Avocado Dip? Click here to try.
Our Fish Tacos With Avocado Salsa are our Recipe Of The Week! Click here to visit our Love Food website for the recipe.
Last year, we brought you a tech-centric guide to getting healthy in the New Year. If you’re anything like us, you started out strong, faltered a bit, and then (hopefully) made some progress in the end – but know you could be doing better. We used some of our own e-cookbooks and cooking apps to make healthy cooking easier, and we downloaded apps like Map My Fitness and Pocket Yoga to help keep us honest. With lots of travel on our plates, the ability to use our tablets and phones for nutrition & fitness advice proved invaluable.
So what’s on deck for the New Year, and what should we be doing to further improve our health? Let’s take a look at some upcoming trends.
Good Attitude = Good Health
Trend watchers JWTIntelligence notes that in recent years, the scientific connection between positive mental and physical health has grown too strong to ignore. All signs show that the two go hand in hand, JWT says: “Research has shown that more optimistic people are up to 50% less likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke.” Conversely, stress has been linked to poor health. As far as healthy eating goes, they say:
“A report from the Mental Health Foundation links depression with junk food and diets lacking in the nutrients essential for optimal brain functioning. The study advocates eating nutrient-rich foods, such as green, leafy vegetables, whole-grain carbohydrates and salmon, rather than processed foods.”
Advice for 2013? Consider the link between mental health & physical health, and know that your exercise routine, eating habits, stress management techniques, and attitude all go hand in hand.
A Focus on Energy
As this CNN article puts it, we are not machines! It doesn’t work when we treat ourselves like them. The key component to getting it right is to establishing great habits in the morning, which includes eating right to increase your energy level for the entire day. You already know you’re supposed to eat breakfast, but what kind of breakfast are you eating? Try a mix of whole grains and proteins with healthy fats – there’s a reason eggs and toast are a breakfast classic!
The same is true of exercise – we already know that we’re supposed to do it, but have we reconsidered our strategy? Leo Babauta of Zen Habits suggests we consider “New Rules of Fitness” for 2013. He recommends that we look at fitness in the same way we now look at how technology fits into our workday and call it a “fitness bit.” If we can fit in a tweet in 140 characters or less, shouldn’t we also try to fit in exercise in small chunks throughout the day? Here, he echoes the kind of advice you already know you should be taking – always take the stairs!
Home Cooking Is Better For You…It's True!
In late 2012, we took a survey of people across the UK, eager to uncover their current cooking habits. While we found that 1 in 4 parents considers heating up beans to be “cooking” (see this Daily Mail article for more), we were also encouraged to find that many people wished they knew how to cook better but felt they didn’t have the time.
We know by now that many packaged foods contain unhealthy preservatives and long lists of ingredients that look suspiciously un-food-like. Increasingly, studies are showing that the packages themselves – cans, plastic containers, and the like – also contain unhealthy chemicals (for more info, see this Psychology Today article.) When in doubt, eating and cooking fresh food is always the best way forward.
If you plan ahead and use simple recipes, cooking also shouldn’t take as much time as you think! If you’re newly resolved to cook in the new year, we can help with recipe inspiration. Check out some of our latest posts on Tumblr, see our Recipe of the Week on our Love Food cooking site, or check out 100 Best Health Foods at your nearest bookstore, online at Amazon.com (US | UK) and Barnes & Noble, or digitally at iBookstore (US | UK) or Barnes & Noble Nook.
As we end 2012, we’re all feeling quite festive around the Parragon offices! Our UK office recently took an ice skating trip, we’re all celebrating with our own holiday parties, and we’ve worked hard to get our holiday shopping done. (Check out some of our festive pictures from around town in Bath & New York on our Pinterest board here.)
Still, this is the week we’re finding ourselves in last-minute preparation for the New Year and (for those of us who celebrate) the Christmas holiday. We’ve rounded up a few of our top recipes for the holiday along with some easy papercraft ideas in case you – like us – need some inspiration right about now.
Looking for a great decoration that transcends holiday specifics? Festive paper ornaments can traverse the seasons, depending on the color schemes used. Be it Christmas, winter, summer (for our Australian readers!), or New Year’s, you can use a variety of techniques to make simple buntings, garlands, or hanging ornaments. Use a simple triangle pattern, patterned paper or cloth, and string to make your own bunting, or create a garland out of paper curls!
You will need:
- Thick Card or Poster Board
- Green Paper
- Thin White Card or Construction Paper
- Sticky Tape
- Felt Tip Pens
1) Draw a large circle on the thick card and a smaller circle inside. Cut out the large circle. Use a sharp pencil to make a hole in the small circle. Push your scissors through and cut out the inner circle, making a card ring.
2) Cut out candy canes from thin white card. Decorate them with a stripy pattern, using ribbon, crayons, sequins and felt-tip pens.
3) Snip leaf shapes from green paper and curl around a pencil before sticking to your wreath.
4) Fold the ribbon into a loop at the top to hang your wreath. Tape the ends neatly in place on the back.
Tip – To make the rings, trace around a dinner plate for the outer circle and a cereal bowl for the inner circle.
Cranberry Jelly: The Perfect Gift
Still looking for a last minute gift idea for hosts, parties, or family? Whip up our cranberry jam (US recipe | metric recipe) and download our holiday gift labels, and you’ll have an impressive and delicious treat to give or serve.
For many of us, the holiday season revolves around baking: pies, cakes, strudels, and cookies have all emerged from Parragon employee kitchens since mid-November, and we’re still going strong. A few of our best cookie recipes are true classics. We recommend iced sugar cookies for a sweet treat that anyone is sure to love. Here’s a recipe adapted from our Christmas Cookies book! (US|UK)
- 225g / 8oz / i cup butter, softened
- 140g / 5oz / 3/4 cup caster or superfine sugar
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 280g / 10oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 200g / 7oz / 1 3/4 cups icing (confectioners') sugar
- 1-2 tbsp warm water
- food coloring
- sugar sprinkles and other desired decorations
1) Place the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour and salt into the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Halve the dough, shape into balls, wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes
2) Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper
3) Unwrap the dough and roll out between two sheets of baking paper to about 3mm thick. Cut out cookies with a star-shaped cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
4) To decorate, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in enough warm water until it is the consistency of thick cream. Divide the icing among 3-4 bowls and add a few drops of your chosen food colorings to each. Leave the cookies on the racks and spread the different colored icings over them to the edges. Arrange decorations on top and leave to set.
*The cookies photographed here were made using this recipe, but to adapt for the holiday season, a snowflake design was piped onto each cookie with white icing sugar.
The packed lunch has seen a huge resurgence in popularity over the last few years, both in schools, and in the workplace. It is cheaper, often healthier and, with home-cooking also making a revival it’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen.
One of the most playful trends that has emerged is a Western take on the Japanese tradition of bento. Originating in the fifth century, bento is essentially a single serve meal in a box. The emphasis on presentation is where it differs from conventional packed lunches.
Traditionally, bento consists of meat or fish with rice and pickled vegetables. Each component is separated into individual compartments within the bento box to keep everything tasting fresh and with its own unique taste.
Bento boxes come in a huge range of forms. Originally made from bamboo, they are now largely made from plastics or metal. Some are disposable and some are made from high-end lacquerware that can fetch high prices.
There are many different variations of bento including the elaborate character and picture bentos. This is where food such as rice and seaweed is cleverly fashioned into the likeness of landmarks and characters. This fun take on the traditional bento box is a especially popular with children, and is a great way help encourage them to eat a healthy diet. This recent article from The Huffington Post showcases a fabulous array of ingenious bento creations!
In Japan, mothers - such as the ones in this video - can spend up to two hours a day, every day, creating these foodie treats. Taking up lessons in the art is popular and there is an inevitable element of competition. Some even go as far as creating the faces of celebrities such as Michael Jackson or Harrison Ford!
Don't believe us? Take a look at Michael Jackson in Bento form.
For most of us however, we simply don't have the time to sculpt such entertaining packed lunches. A great way to create a meal that still looks impressive, but requires a little less dedication is to focus on sushi.
Sushi is healthy - as long as you go easy on the soy and wasabi - nutritious and naturally vibrant. A splash of pink can be added with fish, green with avocado, red with pepper, the many possibilities make this a great way to liven up your lunch! It's also great for vegans and vegetarians if you leave out the fish, and perfect for those with wheat, dairy and gluten intolerances.
If the sound of making your own sushi sounds daunting, our Love Food book Step-by-Step: Asian includes a simple recipe that illustrates each stage of the process with a photograph, making it easy to follow and recreate. Whether it's for the kids or for yourself, why not have a bit of fun with your next lunch box?
For more bento ideas visit our Love Food Tumblr feed.
As the searing heat wave in the US eases off and the rain in Europe calms, it is tempting to hope that summer will now return to normal. In Australia and New Zealand, people are settling into winter with a spate of severe storms. It seems the one thing we can never quite count on is the weather – unless we rely on it to be ever-changing! There really is no normal when it comes to the outdoors.
That said, we often find that one thing never changes despite the weather: our craving for good, hearty comfort food. Happiness, we think, is about the little things – a pair of perfect new shoes, the song that reminds you of the good times, and delicious treats like warm cookies or the perfect sandwich.
Who says you can’t have roast beef on a Tuesday or pumpkin pie in April? Some things are so good they deserve to be enjoyed all year round, and there are comfort foods that work in all-weather situations. Nothing says I love you more than the perfect steak sandwich!
Research carried out on behalf of the recipe sharing site Many Faces of Potatoes found that we connect the smell of baked potatoes with happiness and “memories of grandparents.” Perhaps that’s why Grandma’s Best Recipe’s (available in your favourite shop, and on sale this month on Amazon!) remains to be one of our most loved titles.
Have you ever tried putting almonds in your coleslaw; did you know that tomatoes loose their flavor when they’re stored in the fridge? With recipes straight from the kitchen of your childhood, Grandma’s Best Recipe’s guides you through traditional cooking methods and offers tips gathered from years of experience. Most of all, it showcases some recipes that we feel work in all manner of weather. What better way to celebrate sunshine, cozy up away from the rain, or warm up from the cold than with some perfect all-weather comfort recipes?
We’ll be showcasing our top comfort food recipes for all seasons throughout the next week on our Tumblr, so come rain or shine, there’ll be a recipe to make you smile! Click the image below for our first great recipe, Fish and Chips.
When you need a food cuddle, what is it that you reach for? Head on over to our Tumblr this week and see our recipe suggestions, and then tell us your thoughts!
The weather is starting to warm up in part of the world, and as it does many of us at Parragon are thinking about outdoor eating. Whether you’re camping outside or having a party in the backyard, we’re here to help provide some new outdoor cooking inspiration!
Our friends at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award charity approached us earlier this year to see if we could lend a hand in their own summer eating adventures. The result is the Outdoor Eating app, available now for the iPhone, which provides a wealth of ideas about eating outdoors. Parragon has contributed a number of delicious recipe ideas, from Baked Camembert to Banana & Dark Chocolate S’mores. Best of all, proceeds from the app go towards supporting youth clubs, volunteer organizations, and schools. Learn more about the DoE here.
One of the easiest and best ways to celebrate warm weather when it finally comes is with a delicious ice pop. It’s a snack, it’s a dessert, and in our newest book Irresistible Ice Pops, it can even be a cocktail. With Ice Pops, we wanted to make warm-weather desserts easy, with real fruit and simple, affordable ingredients. What we learned in the process was that making new and innovative fruit and chocolate combinations is a lot of fun!
You can get Irresistible Ice Pops in stores now and try out five recipes in our free sampler download, available here for the US and the UK.
Of course, no outdoor eating experience would be complete without a burger. Our new book The Burger won’t be available in stores and online until August, but we have compiled a ten-recipe sampler to tide you over and fill all your barbeque needs until then! What should you serve at a party between the burger course and the ice pops and s’mores? We recommend keeping it simple and preparing ahead so that you can enjoy your own gatherings more – fresh vegetables with dip is an easy side to prepare, as are simple potato or pasta salad dishes. When in doubt or pressed for time, slice up a watermelon!
Check back in the coming months as we offer more tips for outdoor and indoor cooking on both sides of the world. Next up, we’ll tackle our favorite all-weather comfort foods.
What does “comfort food” mean to you, and what is its role in healing? Sometimes when we’re sick or broken (per below, we literally mean “broken”!) food can act as medicine, providing vitamins and nutrients to help our bodies get well. Sometimes, it’s about mental health: food makes us feel better! Our intrepid roving reporter Sarah Purvis recently learned that sometimes, when you fail to respond to a medical emergency the first time around, you get a second chance through food…Read on for her story and a wonderful recipe!
I have, what a nurse called, a ‘tender disposition’ and this was on display just recently when, on the last of his hang gliding lessons, my husband unfortunately landed badly and broke his arm. There was no blood gushing from a deep wound, there were no bones protruding from his right limb, but for some reason my mind went into overdrive mode recreating a scene from a zombie movie, and within seconds of reaching my husband’s side I passed out. This is embarrassing for me to admit. My poor husband really could have done with some support – and I failed to deliver. I regained my composure quickly and was able to hand over my broken husband to the amazing staff in the ER to literally mend.
Fast forward a week and the patient is doing very well. He has most of the movement back in his arm already thanks to the numerous exercises he was given to do to prevent his arm seizing up. And of course, to encourage healthy bone growth and general well-being, we’ve boosted areas of our diet to include more foods that contain iron, calcium, and vitamins. For dinners, this often means steak with oven roasted potato wedges, tuna with roasted vegetable couscous, pork stir fry with black beans and pak choi and, probably the best, Fisherman’s Pie. Not only is it very easy to make, it’s also packed with a heap of nutrition. I added some chunks of salmon filet, a boiled egg and some frozen peas for a little variety. The husband with a broken arm is also optional – you don’t necessarily need one of these in order to make this dish!
Serves 6. Ingredients:
900g/2 lb white fish filets, skinned
150 ml/5 fl oz dry white wine
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, tarragon or dill
175g/6 oz small mushrooms, sliced
70g/ 2½ oz butter, plus extra for greasing and for the mashed potato
175g/6 oz cooked peeled prawns / shrimp
40g/1½ oz plain flour
125 ml/4 fl oz double cream
900g/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 1.7-litre/3-pint baking dish with butter.
2. Fold the fish fillets in half and place in the dish. Season well with salt and pepper, pour over the wine and scatter over the herbs.
3. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes until the fish starts to flake. Strain off the liquid and reserve for the sauce. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.
4. Sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan with 15g/½ oz of the butter and spoon over the fish. Scatter over the prawns.
5. Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few minutes without browning, remove from the heat, then add the reserved cooking liquid gradually, stirring well between each addition.
6. Return to the heat and gently bring to the boil, still stirring to ensure a smooth sauce. Add the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the fish in the dish and smooth over the surface.
7. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain well and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the remaining butter, stirring until melted.
9. Pile or pipe the mash onto the fish and sauce and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.