Food blogger and cookbook author Tori Haschka explains why you can eat carbs and still be healthy...
Nobody has more food experience than blogger and cookbook author Tori Haschka. Tori made it her mission to eat at some of the best places in the world and blogged her journey and new cooking inspirations. Soon, her space on the web became a place to share her life and delicious-yet-balanced recipes.
We spoke to Tori to get her tips on convenient low GI foods and why we shouldn’t write off carbs completely…
What do you hope people will take away from your blog?
Honesty, a bit of escapism and some new ideas. The blog is very much a reflection of me; at its heart it's about great food, but I try to weave some stories through each week. These days it's mainly about slow carb food as I try to find alternatives to basing all of my meals around the big four white carbs; bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. They're my kryptonite. I grew up loving them - and mostly ate them.
It was only after a long spell of sickness in my twenties that I realised I needed to change to a lower GI way of eating if I wanted to feel better and have more energy. It was eating this way that helped me balance writing and testing 100 recipes for my second book ( Cut the Carbs ) in the first eleven weeks of my baby's life (it was a bit of a mad time). â€¨â€¨
Which 5 things would we find in your fridge?
Full cream milk to have with a cup of Earl Grey tea first thing and almond milk to have in blueberry banana smoothies. I blend frozen portions of the fruit with yoghurt, ground flax, chia seeds and an egg for breakfast most mornings.
Dijon mustard (an essential accompaniment for roast chicken - my kind of comfort food, particularly when made from a happy chicken and combined with borlotti beans, roasted garlic, mushrooms and kale).
Goat cheese (my sneaky solo suppers are usually an omelette).
A tupperware with some of my 'made in a blender', flourless date, cocoa, almond torte in it.
Rose wine. I find both cake and wine are pretty essential for morale.
What’s your personal food philosophy?
In four words? Eat less white stuff. Like lots of other people I spent a long time in a culinary rut of basing my meals around the easy convenience of white carbs; toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, often pizza or pasta for dinner. It was when I started looking beyond them that a whole new horizon of textures and flavours opened up. It was like I went from painting in shades of beige to having access to full colour.
That being said, I don't believe in slavish absolutism. I think extreme approaches can make food something to be scared of, rather than a source of joy. I still eat carbs. The first thing I ate after giving birth was a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a cup of tea and nothing has ever tasted better. I just think if you're going to eat bread, pasta, potatoes or rice, do it because you want to savour every bite- not just because you can't think of anything else that's good to eat. â€¨
What’s your top cooking tip?
Canned pulses aren't just for stockpiling for a potential apocalypse. They're the ultimate low GI convenience food. A tin of cannellini beans when pureed makes an excellent substitute for mashed potato, whether under a roast or in fish cakes. A tin of lentils means spiced lentils with tandoori salmon and raita is only seven minutes away. Black beans make a fantastic stuffing for peppers with feta and pumpkin seeds. Or take a tin of chickpeas, a few coins of chorizo and some cherry tomatoes and you've got a swift Spanish sojourn for supper. Keeping a good stock of pulses in the larder means a sustaining meal is only ever a short time away.
Where do you get your recipe ideas from?
We spent five years travelling much of the world as part of a fairly hedonistic 'baby bucket list' . It was a collection of the places we wanted to see before we became three (most of those expeditions are chronicled on the blog and were the inspiration for my first book; ' A Suitcase and a Spatula '. Back then the blog was more of a dossier of a life well lived. Those years of eating adventurously provide an excellent backlog of inspiration of dishes that get slow carb makeovers like cabbage rolls stuffed with quinoa or gluten free rhubarb love cakes, made with white beans . These days simplicity is my guiding principle. I'm spending most of my waking hours juggling recipe testing for new projects with a very busy 15 month old around my ankles, so slow carb foods which work for the whole family and are sleep deprivation-proof are key.